Hello fellow spondys,
I have been to three fellowship trained spinal specialists who have all told me that I need surgery. Two want to do a fusion, and the third plans on just doing a laminectomy. (I've been told I have some stenosis and a slight herniation at L4-L5 in addition to the spondy.) Since I've been told my issues may well be congenital, I am trying my own plan which is to lose 30 pounds and build up my core muscles. My doctors have provided little to no advice on what exercise I can try. "If it hurts, don't do it" is pretty much what they told me. My question is whether I should avoid anything that turns my torso, or any bending to the side. A physiatrist told me that I should avoid swimming on my stomach or anything that is in an extension position...i.e. avoid "arching" my back. Any thoughts, experiences or suggestions would be appreciated!! Thanks.
Like the doctor said, if it hurts dont do it , thats pretty much what to do , I believe when you have spondylolisthesis its not going to straighten up no matter how hard you work out,( I wouldn't lift anything ,) but I dont think bending or twisting would make it worse , damage is done ! but by lifting it could get worse .
Please try not arch your back, bend or twist. I too have spondy., stenosis and herniations. I made things worse when I went back to work and started bending and twisting. I only did it when I absolutly had to, but still I made things worse. When I do bend, or even lean forward (like to eat over the table, write at a desk etc.) I become inflammed really bad and it takes days of icing myself down to lessen the inflamation. I was told by the Dr. that I can lift only up to 15 lbs. and only if that is comfortable for me. As for swimming, you can swim on your back, just not on your stomache. You can also walk in the pool and get a good aroebic excercise.
My 16 year old daughter had spondy and severe stenosis. Prior to her surgery we tried three months of physical therapy. Before her slip really started to bother her, her dr used to say the same thing, "If it hurts stop and don't do that."
During therapy they had her working on a lot of exercises to build her core muscles up and stretch her hamstrings. Her dr and therapist told us that the worse sports for spondy were those that included the arching of the back, such as gymnastics, volleyball. She did high jump so she had to quit that since there's lots of arching. her dr told her swimming was ok, but no kick turns. I'm not a swimmer, but there's a stroke he told her she shouldn't do because of the arching of her back. Good luck with the exercises.
I too have spondy, and had a fusion in July, I'm in physical therapy right now, and I aslo do a swim class 2x a week. The types of things I do in PT are stretching my back, I don't twist or bend, but I kinda arch my back, but there is no pain. I also do something called a pelvic clock, its done sitting or laying down, and you move your pelvis in the motion like a clock, 12, 3, 6 and 9 and then rotate it both ways, it helps move the muscles. I also do a modified crunch, lay down, knees bent, pull pelvis to the 12o'clock position, then bring one leg up, then down, and then the other, holding the 12 position, that is one rep, and I feel it working in my stomach, without ever hurting my back!!
in the swim class, I do some different movements, no bending or twisting, I feel that it is the best! it's not a aerobic class, its actually meant for people with arthritis, but I find it helps with my flexibility. there are a couple moves I can't do, but I modify them to what I can do. I also take a kick board and do some laps in the pool, but I don't do a lot, because I can feel it on my legs and they are not that strong yet!
when I went to PT I asked my therapist how can I do this without bending or twisting, and she said that you have to bend and twist a little, but not to do it with pain. (I know easier said then done!)
hope this helps- I know that between PT, the pool, and massage therapy my back has felt the best it has in a long time, and I'm only on my 3rd week of treatment!!