The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Dr. Bookspan's Ab Revolution™ Core Retraining Relieves Spondylolisthesis Pain

When a vertebra in the lower spine slides forward on the one below it, it is called spondylolisthesis. In June, I will be presenting my research at an international medical meeting, on a technique I developed to relieve the lower back pain that results from spondylolisthesis.

Like many medical words, spondylolisthesis comes from two Greek words - spondylo, means "spine," and listhesis, means "to slide." Why do the bones slide?

The standard medical literature contains several customary explanations for the condition, each repeated from the next. Often, people who are found on x-ray to have spondylolisthesis are told they have a disease. Often, one of the remedies repeated is surgery. Having spondylolisthesis does not mean you have a disease, or a condition that need medical treatments or surgery. I have found in laboratory studies of many patients with spondylolisthesis, that the lower spine can slide like that when they stand with too much inward curve of the lower back, called swayback and hyperlordosis. It is a slouch, that over time, can push the lower spine bones forward on each other. It is reversible without surgery or medicines.

Normally, your spine bones are held in place, like other joints, by the shape and action of the joints between them. The joints of the vertebrae are called facets, which means "little faces." Facet joints are oval and flat, and look like they are looking at you when you look at them. When you stand and move with your lower spine overarched, that overarched bad posture is a common cause of lower back pain. Nothing much may show up on x-ray for many years. After years overarching the lower spine, the facet joints begin to abrade and grind, and show degenerative change. The vertebrae may also begin to slide.

Fixing the slide involves deliberately moving your lower spine out of slouching and into neutral spine. The forward slouching (slipping) vertebrae can normalize right then. By no longer slouching in a way that slides the vertebrae, the cause of the pain is stopped. I will be presenting this work at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

Fitness Fixer reader Teresa recently finished her PhD. Teresa wrote:

"Two abstracts I submitted for the ACSM Annual Meeting from my dissertation have been accepted for poster sessions (one for Exercise is Medicine, the other for scientific abstract)! So I get to go to Baltimore for the ACSM Annual Meeting/Exercise is Medicine Congress. The first one is "Are Physicians Discussing Strength Exercise with their Patients Over Age 40." The second one -"Influence of Physicians’ Knowledge, Beliefs, and Attitudes on Strength Exercise Adoption by Adults over 40."

"Your example in submitting your abstracts on the Ab Revolution training for low back pain was an inspiration that has helped me. I am excited to be doing these two!

"I love keeping up on the FitnessFixer. Thank you all for your help and support!

"This is my first time doing this and any suggestions from a veteran like yourself of (presenting at these) meetings would be HIGHLY APPRECIATED. Also, I really look forward to meeting you in person!

"I look forward to hearing from you soon (now with my tax paperwork off to
the preparer, I'm ready to buckle down to make my posters).
"Teresa Merrick, PhD"

Congratulations Teresa.

How to relieve pain from spondylolisthesis and other injuries, without surgery or medical treatments:

1. Here is the book, The Ab Revolution™, available through my books page - or click the image below:

2. Read related Fitness Fixers below and more on my web site

Related Fitness Fixer:

Related ACSM Conference Adventures:

Come meet and work with me at the Colorado Wilderness Medicine meting in July 2010

Read success stories and send your own.
See if your answers are already here - on and the Fitness Fixer Index.
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About the Author


Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.