Isthmic spondylolisthesis can result in the pinching or irritation of a lumbar nerve root. When this occurs, you may feel pain, tingling, or numbness along your large sciatic nerve.
To help you find relief from your sciatica symptoms caused by isthmic spondylolisthesis, here are 2 exercises you can perform at home or your office:
Why you need to exercise
Before we look at the 2 exercises for isthmic spondylolisthesis, let’s quickly examine why exercise is necessary.
Often times, when sciatica symptoms strike our first inclination is to take it easy. This may be fine for 24 to 48 hours, but an extended period of inactivity can inhibit your healing—and may make your symptoms worse.
In contrast, exercise will minimize weakness and stiffness, and can help train your spine to remain in a flexed position. In turn, this may relieve the irritation or compression on your sciatic nerve root.
Pelvic tilt for sciatica relief
The pelvic tilt stretch is often recommended for patients who are experiencing sciatica symptoms from isthmic spondylolisthesis because it is easy to perform and can provide quick relief.
Interested? Here is how to do it:
- Begin by lying on your back with your body flat on the floor.
- While keeping your feet flat on the floor, bring your feet towards your body to elevate your knees.
- Next, flatten your back by tightening your lower stomach muscles.
- Hold this tight position for 20 seconds, then relax.
- Aim to complete 10 repetitions of this exercise.
Sitting hamstring stretch
Many people who suffer from isthmic spondylolisthesis have tight hamstrings—which can lead to added stress in your lower back.
To help relieve this stress, and possibly alleviate your sciatica symptoms, you can follow these steps for the sitting hamstring stretch:
- Begin by sitting on the floor with your legs together and stretched out in front of you. Your back should be in an upright position.
- Place your hands next to one another and reach as far as you can towards your toes (your body should also bend towards your feet).
- Hold this position for 20 seconds, then relax.
- Aim to complete 3 repetitions of this exercise.
If you are new to stretching, it is a good idea to consult with a physical therapist. She or he can ensure you are performing your stretches properly—which can prevent injury from improper form or overexertion.
Before beginning any exercise program, make sure you first have an accurate diagnosis from your doctor—as the wrong kind of exercises for your specific condition may make your symptoms worse.