Physical therapy for spondylolisthesis

For many patients diagnosed with spondylolisthesis, which is the slippage of one vertebra over the top of the one below, physical therapy can be an effective method of treatment.

Because spondylolisthesis often develops with the natural degeneration of the spine over time, simple exercises and stretches can help lengthen and realign the spine, while simultaneously strengthening the core muscles to hold the spine in alignment.

If you have been diagnosed with spondylolisthesis and are searching for treatment options, talk to your doctor about physical therapy. He or she should be able to recommend a reputable physical therapist in your area who can help you find pain relief and restore your spine.

Purpose of physical therapy for spondylolisthesis

A physical therapist’s main objective for patients with spondylolisthesis is to improve range of motion while strengthening the supporting muscles around the spine. This can potentially help by improving posture and spinal alignment.

Since spondylolisthesis primarily affects the spine, the physical therapy routine will include exercises to strengthen abdominal and back muscles so that the spine is adequately supported. A therapist may also incorporate use of hot and/or cold therapies, deep tissue massage or electrical nerve stimulation to help reduce muscle tension and muscle spasms in the back and legs.

Physical therapy for spondylolisthesis also has another important area of focus: flexibility. Often, this condition causes the hamstrings to tense up to the extent that walking becomes difficult or painful. To address this, a physical therapist will encourage stretches that increase flexibility in the hamstrings and lower back. He or she can also teach proper lifting and walking techniques to further enhance mobility and an active lifestyle.

When to seek surgical treatment for spondylolisthesis

For many patients, physical therapy and other conservative methods are effective in treating spondylolisthesis symptoms. However if nonsurgical treatments have been exhausted and symptoms become chronic and debilitating, there are other options.

Minimally invasive spine surgery, like the procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute, uses muscle-sparing techniques to decompress nerves in the spine and relieve symptoms of spondylolisthesis. Performed in an outpatient setting, we’re able to offer our patients a shorter recovery time and less risk of complication compared to traditional open spine surgery.^ Our minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization procedures treat a range of spine conditions and severities. Contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more.

A member of our caring team can help you receive a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.