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spondylolisthesis, what can help?

Hello everyone,

I am a spondylolisthesis patient. I think it's between my L4 and L5. I always have some pain at all times. It's worst when bending over however. My chiropractor gave me some excersizes and stretches so strengthen my mid section. It's working ok.

However, sometimes it will hurt to the point that i can barely even walk, let alone bend over. For instance, i woke up one morning like this. Maybe while I slept, my back was in a weird position?

Does anyone have other suggestions for preventing this horrible pain? I see alot of back stretchers, inversion tables, and gadgets to help back pain (like back to life).

Any help is appreciated!




  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • vettegofastvvettegofast Posts: 3
    edited 07/15/2013 - 8:34 AM
    thanks for the response! i have looked through and i was diagnosed with Isthmic Spondylolisthesis. I already do the stretches and crunches advised here. I heard of devices which would also help. What do you think of these? Thanks

    Link removed, solicitation not permitted.Please read the Forum rules
    Post Edited by The Spine-Health Moderator Team

  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 07/15/2013 - 11:38 AM
    Welcome to Spine Health.
    I hope that you have read the various articles on this site about Spondylolisthesis.

    I had a grade two Isthmic Spondylolisthesis. I tried physiotherapy and chiropractor to help with the lower back pain and the bilateral severe sciatica that I got. I thought that the excercising and chiropractor adjustments (using an activator) were helping me. I actually had over 50 chiropractic adjustments. Initially I was going 4 times a week. After months of working hard to get relief, things started to get worse again.

    Eventually I agreed to go and talk to a spine surgeon. He told me that I could not avoid surgery any longer (I had been in awful pain for 2 years) and he couldn't understand how I was managing to walk. By that time I had severe compression of my spinal canal and my spine was starting to tilt and fall over the lower vertebra. He told me that if I continued to avoid surgery I would end up in a wheelchair.

    I had a decompression and fusion of L4/5 3 weeks later. That surgery gave me wonderful relief of my leg and lower back pain. I wished I had had it earlier and not gone through so long in awful pain that was stopping me from walking after about 10 minutes and I could only stand for about 5 minutes before I needed to either sit or lie down.

    I do think that my daily 2 mile walks and all the exercises that I was doing did help me during my recovery.

    Have you seen a spinal surgeon? What do they say?
    I hope that you will find a conservative treatment that will help you with your pain.
    Do ask any other questions that you have and I will try to answer them.
    Take care :-)

  • vettegofastvvettegofast Posts: 3
    edited 07/16/2013 - 5:50 AM

    Thanks for responding! I have not talked to a surgeon yet. My chiropractor only told me to exercise/stretch. My case doesnt sound near as bad as yours. I can walk pretty good. I just wake up with really bad pain sometimes so i was looking for a device which may help with it. I found an exercise ball my wife had. going to see what that does too. Any ideas?

    Sry didnt mean to solicit. :-(

  • I would advise that you do see a spine surgeon. I think that most chiropractors are not in favour of surgery and prefer to use adjustments, exercises and healthy eating to deal with problems. My chiropractor eventually told me that he would be happy to continue to treat me but would understand if I decided to stop seeing him. I found that very upsetting because I felt that he was giving up on me and at that time he was my hope to feel well again. In fact he was being very honest with me. Even he said that sometimes surgery is the only way to get out of the pain.

    The thing with a spondylolisthesis is that your spine is unstable. Because of that using devices to try to deal with your spine could cause worse problems. If I was you I would see a spine surgeon before doing anything yourself.

    I know that a neck is more potentially dangerous because the cord proper is right there, but I have had neck problems too and one neurosurgeon that I saw advised me not to let a chiropractor or osteopath touch my neck. This was because I had compression of my spinal cord and things could have been made much worse.

    I think that until you know exactly what you are dealing with as far as nerve compression is concerned, you should be very cautious. Have you had an MRI scan done? A spine surgeon should be able to tell you whether conservative treatment is likely to help you. Seeing a spine surgeon doesn't mean that you will end up having spinal surgery. They will only do surgery if other options have been tried, or if it is obvious that they won't help.

    I hope that you will find a way to improve your pain.
    Please do let us know how you get on. :-)
  • Hi Gideon. I also had spondy at both the L4/5 and L3/4 levels at separate times. I ended up with surgery for both because of the instability that it creates. Basically, you're back isn't connected the way it should be with spondy, and the vertabra rub against each other causing the pain. But you can imagine how this would affect stability.

    If you aren't yet a candidate for surgery, perhaps wearing a back brace ONLY AT NIGHT WHILE SLEEPING would help and keeping up with regular exercises, walking, etc. during the day.

    Do be careful of a chiropractor, however, with spondy. I have nothing against them, it's just that if they don't know the spine well enough, it can be trouble.

  • Jellyhall- I am currently suffering similar to your above description. Seems it's almost 2 yrs since your surgery. Still a success?

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