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Best Exercises For Spondylolisthesis

Combat spondylolisthesis discomfort with our curated list of exercises designed for relief and support. Empower yourself to manage spondylolisthesis with consistent practice of these targeted exercises for lasting relief.

  • 28 Nov 2023
  • 3 min read

Spondylolisthesis is a condition that entails the misalignment of a vertebra, leading to back pain and discomfort. It manifests in two ways: anterolisthesis, in which a vertebra moves forward relative to the one beneath it, and retrolisthesis, where a vertebra shifts backwards compared to the vertebra positioned above it. Although one should approach movement cautiously, specific exercises strengthen the muscles that support the spine and relieve symptoms. Here, we will examine a range of such exercises for spondylolisthesis, customised to offer relief and support when practised consistently.

List of the best exercises for spondylolisthesis

Here are some exercises that can make a difference in managing spondylolisthesis:

  • Pelvic tilts
  • Partial crunches
  • Double knee to chest 
  • Hamstring stretch
  • Multifidus activation

Let’s learn the technique to do each of these exercises for spondylolisthesis correctly.

1.      Pelvic tilts

Pelvic tilts serve as a foundational exercise to enhance lumbar stability, making them vital for managing spondylolisthesis. Lie on your back, knees bent, and feet flat on the ground. Gently engage your core muscles to tilt your pelvis upward; now, press your lower back into the floor. Hold for a few seconds, then release. Pelvic titls are one of the most effective anterolisthesis exercises that aim at strengthening the muscles supporting the lumbar spine and promoting stability.

2.      Partial crunches

Partial crunches strengthen abdominal muscles without placing excessive strain on the lower back, making them suitable for individuals dealing with spondylolisthesis. Lie on your back with bent knees and feet flat on the floor. Cross your arms over the chest; now, lift your shoulders off the ground, maintaining contact between your lower back and the floor. The controlled contraction engages the core muscles, contributing to improved spinal support and reducing discomfort associated with anterolisthesis.

3.      Double knee to chest

The double knee to chest exercise is a gentle stretch that helps alleviate tension in the lower back and promotes flexibility. Start by lying on your back with bent knees and feet flat on the floor. Slowly bring both knees towards your chest, wrapping your arms around them. Pull your knees closer to your chest, feeling a comfortable stretch in your lower back and buttocks. Hold this position for about 20-30 seconds, then release. This exercise not only releases tightness but also enhances the mobility of the lumbar spine, making it beneficial for spondylolisthesis.

4.      Hamstring stretch

Hamstring stretches focus on the muscles located at the rear of your thighs, which may contribute to lower back discomfort. Lie on your back, and extend one leg on the floor while raising the other, holding it behind the thigh or calf. Gently pull your elevated leg towards your chest, ensuring your knee remains straight. You should experience a mild stretch in the back of your leg. Maintain this position for 20-30 seconds, then switch to the other leg. This exercise helps alleviate tension in the hamstring, indirectly easing strain on the lower back and providing relief for conditions such as spondylolisthesis. 

5.      Multifidus activation

Multifidus activation exercises specifically target the small, deep muscles running along the spine, known as the multifidus spine muscles. Start by lying face down on the floor. Gradually lift one leg a few inches off the ground; simultaneously lift the opposite arm. Maintain this position for a few seconds, activating your core and emphasising stability. Then, switch to the other side. This exercise activates the multifidus muscles, which are crucial for spine stability. A strong multifidus can enhance support for conditions like spondylolisthesis and promote improved spinal alignment.

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Wrapping up 

Adapting your exercise regimen to tackle the distinctive challenges of conditions like spondylolisthesis is vital for sustaining spinal comfort and overall well-being. The above-mentioned exercises for spondylolisthesis consist of carefully designed movements that zero in on specific areas of concern. These exercises offer a well-rounded approach to relieving tension, fostering flexibility, and bolstering spinal stability. Remember, consulting a healthcare professional is crucial before including any new exercise routine in your daily fitness regimen, especially if you have spondylolisthesis. By integrating these anterolisthesis exercises into your routine, you proactively contribute to your spinal health and embrace a more comfortable, active lifestyle.

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