If you suffer from symptomatic isthmic spondylolisthesis, you are likely familiar with the experience of a deep, aching pain in your lower back. For many, this pain is a pesky nuisance, but for others it is a debilitating problem.

See Isthmic Spondylolisthesis Symptoms

Athletes who hyperextend their backs have a heightened risk for isthmic spondylolisthesis. Watch: Isthmic Spondylolisthesis Video

No single remedy works for everyone, but here are 2 little-known treatments that may help you find meaningful relief from your back pain caused by isthmic spondylolisthesis:

See Spondylolisthesis Treatment


1. Heat and Cold Therapy

With all of the recent advancements in medical technology and treatments, it is easy to overlook heat and cold therapy when it comes to treating back pain caused by isthmic spondylolisthesis. But both heat and cold therapy are tried and true methods for assuaging your symptoms.

Heat therapy can be used to relax your muscles and decrease stiffness, so you can try using it before any strenuous activity. As an added benefit, it also encourages the flow of healing oxygen and nutrients to your lower back.

See Benefits of Heat Therapy for Lower Back Pain

Additionally, to find relief at work you can purchase disposable wraps that deliver low-level heat over an extended period of time.

In regards to cold therapy, I recommend that you apply it to your lower back after any activity that results in a flare-up of isthmic spondylolisthesis pain. One simple option for the application of cold therapy is a frozen bag of vegetables, which can be covered with a cloth (for protection from ice burn) and placed on your lower back for 20 minutes.

See Ice Packs for Back Pain Relief

2. Adjust your sleeping position

We spend roughly one-third of our lives sleeping. With all this time spent lying down, it should come as no surprise that your sleeping position can have either a positive or negative effect on your isthmic spondylolisthesis symptoms.

See Mattresses and Sleep Positions for Each Back Pain Diagnosis

Many people who suffer from back pain caused by isthmic spondylolisthesis feel better when sleeping in a reclining position. To test this out, you can try sleeping for a few nights in a reclining chair, or by propping yourself up with pillows in bed. If this provides you with relief, you may want to consider purchasing an adjustable bed.

See Using an Adjustable Bed for Back Pain

In addition to sleeping in a reclining position, you may also benefit from placing a pillow underneath your knees in order to keep them in a slightly elevated position.

See Pillow Types to Consider

However, it is important to note that the above advice should only be understood as general guidelines. Finding the best sleeping position for your back pain caused by isthmic spondylolisthesis will usually come down to a process of trial and error.

See Pain from Isthmic Spondylolisthesis in Adults

If you suspect your back pain is caused by isthmic spondylolisthesis, you should visit your doctor before starting a self-treatment program. It is important to first receive an accurate diagnosis because, depending on the underlying cause of your back pain, certain treatments may actually make your symptoms worse.

See Getting an Accurate Back Pain Diagnosis

Learn more:

Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis

Degenerative Spondylolisthesis


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