Recovery & Support for Spondylolisthesis

At NYU Langone, physicians and therapists who specialize in the spine can create a recovery plan tailored to the treatment you received for spondylolisthesis, as well as your needs and goals. They also provide a variety of support services.

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Physical therapy is an important part of recovery from spondylolisthesis. At NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation, our therapists work closely with you to create a plan for returning to your usual activities and preventing further spine damage. 

During the first few weeks after surgery, a physical therapist can help you increase mobility and teach you exercises for increasing strength in the abdomen, thighs, and buttocks. These core muscle groups support the spine and act as a built-in brace. The stronger they are, the less pressure is put on the vertebrae and joints affected by spondylolisthesis.

In order to recover fully and obtain good results from surgery, the exercises taught by a therapist should become a regular part of your workout routine.

Our doctors also prescribe physical therapy for those who haven’t had surgery. Many people find that core strengthening can take pressure off the spine and that improved muscle strength and posture reduce painful contact between a slipped vertebra and the surrounding nerves.

Our doctors may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants, or pain medication along with physical therapy. After several weeks, physical therapy may provide long-term pain relief and improve flexibility and restore function without the need for additional treatment.

Mind–Body Wellness

In addition to physical rehabilitation, NYU Langone offers integrative health services, which can improve your sense of wellbeing and have a positive impact on your health. Therapies such as acupuncture, acupressure, meditation, and tai chi can enhance the effects of physical therapy and speed recovery time.

Acupressure and acupuncture, which involve the use of massage or very thin needles to stimulate specific points on the body, can reduce pain and decrease inflammation. They can also improve blood flow and speed healing.

Tai chi is an ancient form of exercise that consists of a series of simple body movements held for varying periods. Tai chi is low impact, and most routines move at a slow, graceful pace, emphasizing mental focus, balance, and calmness. Many people find that tai chi boosts their energy level and reduces stress. Studies support the use of tai chi to improve balance and reduce joint pain.

Meditation is a form of deep relaxation that has been used for centuries. During group meditation sessions at NYU Langone, people usually sit quietly with their eyes closed, allowing the mind to focus on remaining still and tranquil. Many people find that meditation helps restore emotional balance, reduce stress, and boost energy.

Lifestyle Changes

Research shows that certain lifestyle factors, such as maintaining a healthy weight and quitting or cutting down on smoking, can enhance recovery from back surgery. NYU Langone doctors and counselors recognize that this can be difficult, and offer emotional support and structured programs designed to help you achieve your goals. Your doctor may refer you to the Weight Management Program or Tobacco Cessation Programs for assistance.

Our Research and Education in Spondylolisthesis

Learn more about our research and professional education opportunities.