A few years ago, I woke up with a terrible pain in my low back. After a week of trying to let it heal on its own while feebly moving around and not being able to fold forward into spinal flexion, I decided it was time to go to the doctor for a medical opinion. An X-ray revealed a low grade spondylolisthesis between L4 & L5. “Spondy-what?” was my reply to the doctor; who then explained that one vertebral segment in my low back had slipped over the one below it.
Spondylolisthesis is caused by a problem with one or more of the small joints that allows one vetebral bone to move over the other is forced out of position. This shift may be caused by any of a number of problems with the small joints in your back. You could have:
- A defective joint that you’ve had since birth (congenital).
- A joint damaged by an accident or other trauma.
- A vertebra with a stress fracture caused from overuse of the joint.
- A joint damaged by an infection or arthritis.
Although the doctor was not able to tell me specifically how my spondylolisthesis occurred, whether it was congenital or caused by overuse or arthritis or a mixture of all the above, he did give me insight into what was happening in my spine. At first this news was frightening and frustrating, as I wasn’t sure that there was anyway to cure or prevent further damage to my spine without drugs or surgery. At some point after my back was feeling a bit better, I learned about my miraculous multifidi.
Simply being exposed to the knowledge of these muscles that protect my spine and aid in the continence of my pelvic floor helped me feel more optimistic about the recovery of my low back dysfunction.
Through my research, I found that stabilization exercises with individuals with lower back pain and spondylolysis or spondylolisthesis helped to reduce pain intensity in the long term. Now, it wasn’t just any exercise plan – it also included the specific training of deep abdominal muscles and the deep spinal stabilizers, the multifidi.
With the help of Yoga Tune Up® poses and a daily dose of therapy ball work, my low back and spine are stronger and more stable and are in fact, functioning better than they have in years. I now wake up to a body that feels MMMMM; rather than UGH! In order to utilize the power of your thoughts combined with the power of the pose to maintain the health of your entire spine; I encourage you to try the poses in the video below while the mind maintains focus on accessing the contractions of your multifidi.