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Exercises to Avoid With Spondylolisthesis

author image Rachel Nall
Rachel Nall began writing in 2003. She is a former managing editor for custom health publications, including physician journals. She has written for The Associated Press and "Jezebel," "Charleston," "Chatter" and "Reach" magazines. Nall is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Tennessee.
Exercises to Avoid With Spondylolisthesis
Exercises that twist the body may harm spondylolisthesis.

Your spinal column relies on each spinal bone to remain in proper alignment to function properly and without pain. When a bone in the lower spine slips out of place, a condition known as spondylolisthesis occurs, according to Medline Plus. This condition is the result of congenital defects or traumatic injury to the spine. While exercises can help strengthen the muscles around the back, certain exercises can exacerbate this spinal condition.

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Sports That Strain the Back

When spondylolisthesis does not occur as the result of a congenital condition, it is often due to a traumatic injury or wear over time due to playing a certain sport, according to Sports Injury Clinic. Sports that place a significant amount of strain on the back can result in the slippage of discs, typically the lower lumbar vertebrae. Examples of these sports include wrestling, weightlifting and gymnastics. Track and field athletes who compete in throwing events also may experience this condition. Those who play football and are subject to frequent traumatic blows to the body also may be at greater risk.

Leisure Sports that Require Twisting

Certain leisure exercises may place excess strain on the lower back, aggravating spondylolisthesis, according to the University of Michigan Health System. These exercises involve chiefly cold-weather activities, including tobogganing, sledding and snowmobiling. These exercises require twisting of the lower back, which can be painful for those with a lower back condition. Trampolining is another leisure exercise that can be detrimental.

Low-back Straining Core Exercises

While abdominal and back exercises can help strengthen the body’s core muscles and provide stability, certain exercises may strain the back excessively, according to the University of Michigan Health System. Examples of these exercises include sit-ups performed with the legs straightened instead of feet flat on the floor and lying on your stomach while lifting the legs--an exercise known as “swimming” in Pilates. A hurdler’s stretch, where one leg is extended and the other is tucked behind you as you lean forward, is another core-muscle stretch that can be too taxing.

Heavy Weightlifting

When you lift heavy weights, your back often bears the burden, according to Medline Plus. Placing too much strain on the back by lifting weights that are heavy can cause pain in people with spondylolisthesis. If you do have a weightlifting routine, switch to a lower weight and perform more repetitions. Using weightlifting machines also may be beneficial because they can encourage proper form, according to the University of Michigan Health System.

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