Spondylolisthesis Exercises & Stretches for Back Pain - Ask Doctor Jo
Hey everybody, it's Dr. Jo! I got an email from somebody asking how to do some stretches and strengthening exercises for spondylolisthesis. What?? That is a pretty big scary word, but basically what it is, is when the spine slips slightly forward, and it does sound scary, and it can be scary, but you can strengthen your core around the spine to help protect it so it doesn't make it any worse.
So let's get started. So the first exercise we're gonna do is lying down, propping your knees up. This is going to be a simple pelvic tilt. So basically your taking your pelvis and pushing it down into the ground.
So you want to relax your back. Relax your head, so your not picking your head up and stressing out your neck muscles, and you are going to imagine that your pushing your belly button down to the ground. So your back ends up being flat on the ground, so that arch that is usually there when you are just lying there, push it and flatten it out. So if you need to put your hands underneath as a target, push down into your hands. Now make sure you are not holding your breath. If you can't talk while you are doing it, then you are probably holding your breath. You are just going to rotate those hips back and push flat down. Squeezing those tummy muscles almost like your laughing at something, tightening them up.
Pushing down, holding for about 5 seconds, and then relax. You can do that about 5-10 times, and then build your way up. So after you do 5 seconds, then try 10 seconds the next day, and then 15 seconds, until you work your way up to holding it for 30 seconds. Now the next one is going to be holding the pelvic tilt, so your flattening out your back, and doing some movements with it. So pushing down nice and flat, and now you are going to slightly bring your foot up, and at the same time bring the opposite arm back while you're keeping your back flat on the ground.
A little bit harder than it looks, and just rotating back and forth. Again, this is going to really be working that core, so just start off with 5-10, and then work your way up. If you feel like your back is coming up, and you are starting to arch a little bit, then take a break because that means those muscles are getting tired. The last two are going to be stretches. You want to stretch out your back as well. Doing a flexion movement is what you want, because that slip is forward, you don't want to extend your back because that is going to push it even more.
So you want to do flexion type stretches. So you are just going to bring both knees to your chest, as far as you comfortably can. You want to be relaxed, don't fight it with the muscles. If you can get them far enough up, you can bear hug like this, or if you can't go that far, you can just hold them about right here. Now if you have knee problems, you can actually grab underneath your knees so you're not squishing those knees tight causing some irritation there, so you might want to hold here.
If you can, hold it for about 30 seconds, and do that 3 times. So the last stretch is going to be for your hamstrings. You want to make sure to keep your hamstrings nice and stretched out and loose because they are attached to your pelvis and your hips, and if they are tight, they are going to pull on that slippage some more, and cause some more irritation. I have a hamstring stretching video that has a whole bunch of different ways to stretch out your hamstrings, so if you want to check that out, go ahead and check it out.
But the one I am going to show you today is with a belt. You can use a dog leash, towel, belt. Straighten your leg out. Lock out that knee, try not to bend the knee, and you're just going to pull up as far as you comfortably can and hold that stretch for 30 seconds.
Now make sure you are wrapping it around the ball of your foot, and not way up on your toes so it doesn't slip off and hit you. Just hold it for 30 seconds, 3 times. Make sure you do both sides to keep everything nice and loose. So those were stretches and strengthening exercises for spondylolisthesis. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments section, and if you would like to check out some other videos, like the hamstring stretching video, go to askdoctorjo.com And remember be safe, have fun, and I hope you feel better soon!.
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