Spondylolisthesis is the slippage of one vertebra over another, and the slippage usually affects the fourth lumbar (lower back) vertebra in adults. This slippage normally is a result of a degenerative condition, such as degenerative disc disease or osteoarthritis, which can occur as we age. Because there is no stopping the aging process, spondylolisthesis prevention can be difficult, if not impossible. However, maintaining good physical and cardiovascular fitness is one way to prepare the body to cope with symptoms that can sometimes accompany spondylolisthesis — including pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness.
Proper posture techniques for spondylolisthesis prevention
In addition to exercise and weight management through a healthy diet, maintaining proper posture is one way to lessen — or even avoid — the symptoms associated with spondylolisthesis. It’s not always easy to remember to practice proper posture, of course. Until these techniques become a habit, it’s all too simple to give in to the natural tendency to let gravity take over. One of the spine’s primary functions is to support the body’s weight, and it is important to maintain an even distribution across the series of vertebrae, muscles, ligaments, joints and discs so that one or more segments never have to carry more of the load than they should. Here are a few pointers for maintaining proper posture:
- Keep your back straight when standing or sitting
- Keep the shoulders square, rather than hunched forward
- When sitting, choose a seat with good lumbar support, arm rests and a swivel base
- While seated, keep knees and hips level
- While standing, lift reading material to eye level, rather than bending forward
- If seated at a computer, keep feet flat on the floor and make sure arms are supported, with elbows bent at a right angle
When spondylolisthesis prevention fails
Not even perfect posture can totally prevent spondylolisthesis, and nerve compression can result when one vertebra slips over another. If the symptoms associated with spondylolisthesis become unbearable, and conservative treatments such as medication and physical therapy have done little to relieve your symptoms, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure performed using advanced techniques can help you find relief from back pain. We offer both minimally invasive decompression (MID) and minimally invasive stabilization (MIS) procedures that are often the clinically appropriate first choice versus open neck or back surgery.