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Spondylolisthesis Exercises

by
author image Kimberly Rienecke
Kimberly Rienecke started her career as a health and fitness writer by working for various websites. She is a certified orthopedic physician assistant and an ACE-certified personal trainer. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Towson University.
Spondylolisthesis Exercises
Abdominal curls strengthen the core muscles of the abdomen to prevent further slippage of the vertebrae. Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which one of the bones constituting your spine, known as vertebrae, slips forward anteriorly. This can occur for several reasons, including a defect in the vertebrae, repeated backward movements of the spine or, rarely, a stress fracture. Exercises for spondylolisthesis should be targeted at strengthening the core muscles of the abdomen to prevent further slippage of the vertebrae, as well as restoring flexibility of the back and hamstrings.

Double Knee-to-Chest Stretch

Tightness of the back muscles can contribute to the development of symptoms in individuals with spondylolisthesis. Stretching exercises such as these are designed to increase flexibility and reduce your risk of developing symptoms. To do this exercise, begin by lying down on your back. Bend your knees and place both feet flat against the ground. Contract the muscles in your abdomen and slowly bring the knees to your upper chest. Wrap your arms around both knees and hold this position for five seconds. Do 10 to 20 repetitions.

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Hamstring Stretch

The hamstring muscles are found on the back of your upper thigh. Tightness of the hamstrings can cause the pelvis to tilt posteriorly, thus contributing to the forward curvature of the lower spine. This exercise will help prevent this from occurring and improve flexibility. To stretch your hamstrings, sit on the ground and extend your right leg in front of your body. Bend your left leg so that the bottom of your foot is touching your opposite thigh. Extend your arms and bend toward the right leg as far as possible, with the goal of touching your fingertips to your toes.

Pelvic Tilt

This exercise is focused on strengthening the muscles of your abdomen, lower back and pelvis. To do pelvic tilts, first lie on the ground on your back. Bend your knees and place both feet flat against the floor. Contract the muscles in your abdomen, then tilt your pelvis upward slightly. Focus on pushing your spine flat into the ground as you tilt your pelvis. Hold your pelvis in this forward flexed position for five seconds. Do three sets of 10 repetitions.

Trunk Rotation

Trunk rotations are beneficial for building your lower back and abdominal muscles. To do this exercise, lie on the ground on your back. Bend your knees and place both feet flat against the floor. Place your arms at the sides of your body for balance. Slowly rotate your knees over to your right side as far as possible. Then slowly bring your knees all the way over to your left side. This movement should be very slow and controlled, and your feet should remain on the floor during the entirety of this exercise. Do three sets of 10 repetitions.

Abdominal Curl

Abdominal curls promote strong core muscles of the abdomen, a key component to prevent further slippage of the vertebrae. Begin by lying on your back. Bend your knees and place both feet flat against the floor. Place your fingertips behind your head for support. Contract the muscles in your abdomen, then slowly raise your head off the floor toward your chest. Continue to curl your abdomen until your shoulders have been lifted off the floor. Pause for a second at the top, then slowly lower your body back down to the ground. Focus on good form and contracting the abdominal muscles. Your fingertips should be placed lightly on the head and should be used for support only. Do not allow your hands to pull your head off the ground. Do three sets of 10 repetitions.

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