How can yoga and Pilates help treat spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis, a common sports-related injury, occurs when one vertebra slips beneath another. Though spondylolisthesis can occur due to age-related degenerative issues, athletes who participate in high-impact sports are especially susceptible to developing this condition. Muscle spasms, stiffness in the hamstrings and pain in the back and buttocks are the most common symptoms associated with spondylolisthesis.

Some alternative treatments to consider

Alternative treatments are available for this condition and may lead to a reduction in pain. Although spondylolisthesis is quite common in athletes who are known for their extreme exercise habits, the use of exercise can actually help relieve symptoms for some patients. Contact sports may be off-limits in order to prevent further injury, but some physicians suggest that low-impact exercises are beneficial to patients with spondylolisthesis. These exercises may include:

  • Yoga. Yoga uses different poses to stretch and strengthen the muscles in the body, especially the back. When done in moderation, this can be quite beneficial to some patients with spondylolisthesis.
  • Pilates. This exercise method — which focuses on proper breathing, mental concentration, smooth movement and proper spinal alignment — seeks to develop the core muscles found in the abdomen and back. Stronger abdominal and back muscles can help relieve the symptoms of spondylolisthesis by providing greater support to the vertebrae, thereby reducing the amount of pressure placed on the spine and its nerve roots.

Consult your physician

Patients should always speak with their primary care physicians before beginning any exercise regimen, especially those who have been diagnosed with spondylolisthesis. And, if conservative treatments fail to bring you relief, you may also want to ask your physician about the need for surgery. Laser Spine Institute offers a number of minimally invasive spine surgeries to treat chronic neck and back pain. Contact us for more information. We’re happy to provide you with a free MRI review* to help determine whether you’re a candidate for our procedures.