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Is this the right exercise for anterolisthesis?

AnonymousUserAnonymousUser Posts: 51,513
edited 06/11/2012 - 1:27 PM in Lower Back Pain
I've just been diagnosed with anterolisthesis (2nd degree, 1.4 cm slippage). I have a lot of pain in my hip, down my leg, in my knee, etc. My primary care doctor referred me to an orthopedist, who in turn has referred me to a neurosurgeon (whom I haven't seen yet). I'm scheduled for an MRI as well.

In the meantime, the primary care doc also had me start physical therapy. However, neither the primary care nor the orthopedic docs have given any instructions to the PT regarding my condition. I'm concerned because it seems as if he's treating me as if the bone had slipped back rather than forward, both from some things he's said and from the exercises he has me do.

The PT is having me focus most on stretching the spine by arching my back in prone or standing positions. As I read more about anterolisthesis it seems that the bone is already shifted forward, so doesn't arching the back increase the likelihood that it will shift foward MORE?

I know I should have asked the orthopedist when I was there, but I forgot. I'm seeing the PT again on Friday and I wonder if it's worth calling the orthopedist back before then and asking him, or if it's ok.

I thought maybe someone who had been through this could reassure me that this is, in fact, the appropriate exercise. Clearly I don't want to be doing anything to make it WORSE, and I'd like to have confidence in the PT. Right now, every time I practice the back-arching exercises, it makes me nervous (although it doesn't cause any more pain than anything else).


  • Sorry to hear about your condition - I also have slippage of my L5 over my S1/L6 (I have an extra vertebrae). For me, based on my x-rays of flexion and extension, my L5 slips "forward" A LOT when I flex forward (bend over forward), therefore I have to avoid bending over forward with a hollow back (like when a cat arches his back) - if I bend forward, I have to keep a flat back. I take Yoga and have to modify certain position to keep a flat back.

    I believe that typically when there has been slippage, the vertebrae tends to slip "forward" (towards the belly button) over the one below it - but I know that there are cases where the opposite has happen and it slips "backwards". Due to the structure of the lumbar spine, it just makes sense that the vertebrae would slip "forward" and not "backward".

    When I did physical therapy, I didn't do any bending forward - I did alot of extension exercises (arching the back) - but I kept the arching mild, because extreme arching for me isn't good either. I have to keep everything pretty neutral.

    I hope this helps! I know that other people will let you know what exercises they did. Good luck!
  • Catsaway...I have a grade 2 slippage at L5-S1. Everything that I have ever read regarding exercises for this condition...say NOT to do back extensions. Now, with that in mind...I DO some back extension exercises. Like Tanya...I keep the extensions very mild and only do certain variations of them...such as on a stability ball. My chiro (yes, I still occasionally see one) believes that as long as my spondy doesn't become "unstable", then mild extensions are ok. However, I also do some forward flexion stretching, simply because it feels good to me. Whether or not it's causing further slippage in me, is unknown at this point because I have never had an extension/flexion X-ray done. I will hopefully be seeing an orthopedic spine doc soon, so perhaps he will want to do one, just to see exactly what my spine is doing during extension and flexion.

    I hope you find some answers soon!

  • went from having no slippage, to 3mm grade 3 cervical slippage of C3 onto C4 with uncovered disc, and beginning Grade 1 slip of C4 onto C5 all in less than 18 months, plus mild arthopathy to severe in C3-4 with Disc bulge at C5-6 which indentation into the cord, although there is room in the canal on the other side of the bulge. Plus now I have osteophytes!!! I'm falling apart. My pain has changed and my neck feels very unstable! Like I know better than to do certain things because I just know my neck won't take it. Does this sound familiar? So I have a question, what grade slippage do they usually decide to operate? (I think I am there. Done the PT, Epidurals, RF, and my PM Dr just referred me to a neurosurgeon and won't do ANY spinal injections or ANY facet injections on me anymore.) Anyone reading had this grade of slippage with disc uncovering before??
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