Having a spondylolisthesis can be very frustrating. Often times in frustration the internet is used as a source of information and hope for that magic exercise that will cure all pain and discomfort.
Unfortunately, there is no magic exercise, the best exercise depends on each individual and the following factors.
Severity of the condition . The diagnosis might be spondylolisthesis, but there are several grades. The higher the grade, the greater the chance of discomfort with movement or being sedentary. Therefore, what might be a great spondylolisthesis exercise for someone suffering from a grade 1 spondylolisthesis could be completely inappropriate for someone with a grade 3 spondylolisthesis.
Current pain levels . Those suffering from grade 1 spondylolisthesis may experience times of severe discomfort and they may have days where they are completely pain free. Performing a certain exercise on a painful day may be challenging and near impossible but on a day where there is no pain that same exercise might be managable. It is very important to take into account the current level of pain to determine if the exercise is suitable.
Individual weaknesses . One of the most overlooked areas in spondylolisthesis rehabilitation is the specific weakness of each individual. Even if two people are suffering from the same condition, specific weaknesses may lead to a different approach to exercise.
Client A may suffer from tight hips and weak glutes while Client B may have poor thoracic mobility and an exaggerated lordotic curve. Client A could benefit from stretching the hips and strengthening the glutes. Client B may feel relief from a good thoracic mobility exercise.
The point is they both suffer from the same condition, but the cause of the current discomfort could stem from different areas. Finding out the exact weakness of each individual can lead to a proper set of exercises that help with pain.
What provides relief . Let's face it, some exercises just feel good. What feels good for Client A may feel terrible for Client B. As long as the exercise is not causing further damage performing something that feels good is perfectly fine.
This sensation of feeling good can provide relief. Having painful conditions can cause both mental and physical stress. Finding that feel good exercise can be the difference between the right exercise for Client A and Client B.
Outside factors . Outside factors can include sports played, physical positioning at work, or even hobbies. All of these factors can influence posture and increase tightness in areas that are overused.
Repetive sports that involve rotation can be stressful on the spine. Jobs with excessive sitting can influence the tightness of the hips and glutes. Certain hobbies can also play a role in affecting the body. Outside factors can greatly affect what exercise is right for the individual. A majority of the time the individual will find relief with exercises that combat the negative postural positions of outside factors.
Their is no exact answer to the question, what is the best exercise for spondylolisthesis? The answer can be affected and depend on the severity of the condition, current pain levels, individual weaknesses, what provides relief, and outside factors. What works for one person may not work for the other even though they suffer from the same condition.