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Spondylolisthesis / Retrolisthesis and Back Extension Exercises

kaifmahmoodkaifmahmood Posts: 12
edited 06/11/2012 - 1:40 PM in Chronic Pain
I have disc protrusions at L5 S1 and L4 L5. Since I started my treatment in June 2008, I have been doing back extension exercises to strengthen and stretch back muscles which (among other exercises). In October 2009, I was also diagnosed with Grade 1 Spondylolisthesis where the slippage is backwards and not forwards. Hence, it is technically called retrolisthesis.

In the last 2-3 months, my back pain has improved somewhat but I definitely have more pain now while driving than I did before. My doctor thinks that this is because driving (especially on bad roads) moves the back in a way that affects the unstable vertebra which is slipping. Therefore, he thinks that the main problem with my spine now is the retrolisthesis and not the disc protrusion by itself.

My concern is that the back extension exercises I have been doing may have caused my retrolisthesis, or / and have made it worse. I have read that repeated back extension causes spondylolisthesis, but I am not sure about the following:

when the slippage is backwards and not forwards, is it bending backwards that is to be avoided or bending forwards, or both?

The exercises I do are a) lying on my back with my hands clasped behind me, lifting my torso up and holding it for 10 seconds, for 10 repetitions (for strengthening) and b ) doing the same exercise while propped up on my hands so that I get a stretch in my lower back (for stretching).

I forgot to ask my doctor this question and don't want to go to him again just for this. In another context, some months ago, he had said that as long as I bend mildly, it will not cause problems. I do do these backward bends mildly, not going too far back.

I look forward to reading people's views on this.



  • Go back and ask your Doctor. He/she knows you better and is more capable of providing an appropriate answer.

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