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Yoga therapy for spondylolisthesis and foraminal stenosis: case study

If you are at a loss of how to relieve your back pain, this case study is for you. It shows that a positive approach, the right exercise and yoga therapy can improve even complicated back problems such as spondylolisthesis and stenosis. Jill’s back and leg discomfort and road to recovery exemplify how we can learn to manage and relieve back pain, and why it is important to keep searching for the right approach. The cause of Jill’s discomfort is complicated: presenting as scoliosis and sciatic pain, it is caused by foraminal stenosis and made complex by spondylolisthesis. The terminology will be explained later. Suffice to say that these different conditions require different approaches from yoga therapy. In fact, what would benefit stenosis is likely to aggravate spondylolisthesis …

Core strengthening: daily routines for a healthier back

In her incredible and inspiring life story, Jo Malone says that life is about conquering things. In her journey from growing up in a council flat and struggling with dyslexia to being a world-known, innovative perfumer, she has had to conquer limitations over and over again. We all have to do this to a certain extent, and quite acutely when we have to live with pain or a disability.

If you have back pain you will know that you have to conquer feeling bad or even conquer despair every day. You may have to go from specialist to specialist until you find the one that finally helps you relieve or manage your back pain. You may need to adjust your plans and movements to avoid the pain from getting worse. You try doing exercises regularly to keep your back healthy and avoid a relapse. In any case, what you do every day will count: avoiding certain movements, at least temporary, and including others that can relax and strengthen you. Because core strengthening is an essential part in your journey to a stronger back, I made a video series that you can easily include in your daily routines.

Morning routine for a healthier back

As a child I had a poster in my room of a shepherd and sheep in an early morning field, with the text “It is not the great heroic acts that demand most of our courage, but the small tasks we have to perform every day”. Looking at the man in the freezing morning field, I saw the point. Thinking back at your New Year’s resolutions, you may agree that the daily disciplines, however promising the results, require most effort. The more regularly we stick to them, of course, the easier and more rewarding they become. It is probably most manageable to stick to one particular discipline for a few weeks, until it becomes a habit. For all of you with back pain, each of the next few blogs will give you a short yoga sequence to focus on for a couple of weeks. Today, we start with a morning routine for a healthier back.

The yoga poses my son took back to uni

I can’t really claim that my children are devoted yogis, but they have inevitably had to put up with yoga as a solution for all sorts of challenges, such as exam stress (“breathe!”), performance anxiety (“breathe! Connect with the feeling of your feet on the floor”), core strengthening (“this is a better way to do it”), and back pain… unfortunately also back pain. Over the years I have warned my children about the consequences of slouching until I myself slumped down in desperation. For young people the consequences of bad posture are not immediate, and all their friends slouch or practically lie at their desk… Unfortunately, at some point the chronically rounded spine has had enough, and the consequences are bound to be painful and limiting. My son had some back pain over Christmas, and so at the end of the holiday he begrudgingly took a yoga mat with some instructions. Below I explain the yoga poses my son took back to uni, as they are not only useful for students but for anyone who has to sit for many hours.