Exercises For Spondylolisthesis


Spondylolisthesis is a condition involving spine instability, which means the vertebrae move more than they should, but there are exercises for Spondylolisthesis. A vertebra slips out of place onto the vertebra below. It may put pressure on a nerve, which could cause lower back pain or leg pain. 

 Symptoms Of Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis may happen anywhere along the spine but is most common in the lower back; symptoms would include the following:

  • Pain in your lower back is often worse when standing or walking and relieved when sitting or bending forward.
  • Pain spreading to your bottom or thighs.
  • Tight hamstrings (the muscles in the back of your thighs).
  • Pain, numbness, or tingling spreading from your lower back down 1 leg (sciatica).

Spondylolisthesis Causes

There are a variety of causes of Spondylolisthesis based on age, heredity, and lifestyle. Children suffering from this condition result from a congenital disability or injury. If the condition runs in the family, everyone will be susceptible. And rapid growth during adolescence may also be a contributing factor.

Playing sports is a good hobby and great for our body, but this may also cause your strain to overstretch and put stress on your lower back. The following sports are especially likely to cause this condition:

  • Football
  • Gymnastics
  • Track and field
  • Weightlifting

Spondylolysis is often a precursor to Spondylolisthesis. Spondylolysis occurs when there is a fracture in a vertebra, but it hasn’t yet fallen onto a lower bone in your spine.

Spondylolisthesis Treatment

Spondylolisthesis treatment will always depend on the severity of the vertebra that has shifted out of place. Most people get better with exercises that stretch and strengthen lower back muscles.

You can still play most sports if you don’t feel pain and the shift is not severe. And slowly resume your usual activities in no time. You need to avoid some contact sports or change activities to protect your back from being overextended. Have follow-up x-rays to make sure the problem is not getting worse. The following may also be recommended:

  • A back brace to limit spine movement
  • Pain medicine (taken by mouth or injected into the back)
  • Physical Therapy

Spondylolisthesis cases that need surgery would have the following conditions:

  • Severe pain that does not get better with treatment
  • A severe shift of a spine bone
  • Weakness of muscles in one or both of your legs
  • Difficulty with controlling your bowels and bladder

Non-Surgical Spondylolisthesis Treatment Options

Here are some non-surgical treatments available to mitigate and manage the pain of Spondylolisthesis:

  • Rest – restricted motion and rest to stop aggravating the injury are recommended for acute bouts of pain.
  • Medication – there are a lot of over-the-counter pain medications, including Tylenol or anti-inflammatory medicines, that help manage pain. In cases of extreme pain, the doctor may prescribe restricted doses of stronger pain medications and muscle relaxants. (In many cases, we prefer to use medication as a supplement to other forms of treatment rather than as a treatment in itself.
  • Epidural Steroid Injections– An epidural steroid injection can reduce inflammation and relieve pain for patients suffering significant pain or numbness in the back or legs.
  • Back Bracing – Primarily used for patients with isthmic Spondylolisthesis, a stabilizing back brace can immobilize the affected area and give it time to recover.
  • Physical Therapy– learning strategic movement and correct low-impact exercises suited for Spondylolisthesis will help strengthen the muscles surrounding the affected area and stabilize the back while regaining mobility.

Low Impact Exercises

Here are some exercises that are considered safe for Spondylolisthesis:

1. Pelvic Tilt

Pelvic-Tilt-Exercises- Exercises For Spondylolisthesis

Lie on your back, your knees bent, and your feet flat against the floor. Then, pull your belly button toward the spine using your abdominal muscles and focus on pressing the low back flat against the floor. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds, and then relax.

2. Partial Curl

Partial Curl- Exercises For Spondylolisthesis

Begin this pose the same way as the spondylolisthesis pelvic tilt exercise. Then, tuck the chin to the chest and curl the upper body forward to lift the shoulders off the floor with your hands straight out. Hold this pose for three seconds before relaxing the abs and uncurling the upper back to the floor.

3. Gluteal Stretch

Gluteal Stretch- Exercises For Spondylolisthesis

Firstly, lie on the back with both knees bent. Rest the ankle of one leg against the knee of the other. Grab onto the thigh of the bottom leg and pull it toward the chest until you feel a stretch in the buttocks and possibly the outer part of the hip. Hold this pose for 15 to 30 seconds before switching legs.

4. Double-Knee To Chest

Double- Knee Chest

Lying on your back with bent knees. Lift one leg and hold on to it with one hand, then lift and hold the other. Pull both knees gently closer to your chest, hold for a count of 5, then relax your arms but don’t let go completely. Finally, repeat the steps.

Regular exercise, maintaining weight, and eating a well-balanced diet help reduce the risk of Spondylolisthesis. 

Surgical Treatment Option

Surgery is another option when all non-surgical treatments have been explored and exhausted for long-term spondylolisthesis relief. The most common types of surgery used to correct Spondylolisthesis are: the procedure would still depend on the type of injury and specific condition to correct the problem. Moreover, the two basic goals of these procedures are decompression (relieving pressure) and stabilization. 

  • Laminectomy (removing the part of the bone causing pressure); and 
  • Spinal Fusion – (fusing the vertebrae to stabilize the affected area). 

In some cases of Spondylolisthesis, both procedures may be done together.

Surgery has a high success rate, and people who have surgery for Spondylolisthesis often return to an active life within a few months of surgery. Furthermore, rehabilitation after surgery will help you get back to full function. 


Spondylolisthesis is one of the common causes of back pain, but it is not dangerous and doesn’t need to take over your life because there are exercises for Spondylolisthesis. So, if you have low back pain or struggle to walk, stand or bend over, talk to your healthcare provider to find out how you can feel better. Also, many treatments are available, from medication and physical therapy to spinal surgery.Low Back Pain Solved