At-Home Treatments for Spondylolisthesis


What is spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis is a medical condition that primarily affects the lower back (lumbar spine); however, it can also occur in the mid to upper back (thoracic spine) or neck (cervical spine). The body has 33 stacked vertebrae that form the foundation of the spine. Spondylolisthesis occurs when a vertebra slips forward (anterolisthesis) or backward (retrolisthesis) onto the vertebra underneath it, which may lead to nerve compression.

At-Home Treatments

In addition to conventional treatments for spondylolisthesis, there are several at-home treatment methods that can aid in the recovery process. At-home treatment options include medication, rest, and temperature therapy.


Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as naproxen or ibuprofen, can reduce inflammation. Over-the-counter pain medications, such as acetaminophen, can ease pain and muscle spasms.


Taking a break from strenuous physical activity, such as heavy lifting or sports, gives the back a chance to heal. Anything that causes stress to the spine, or involves excessive bending, twisting or stooping, should be avoided during the healing process. Bed rest is generally only recommended for two to three days following an injury. Prolonged best rest can cause muscle loss, reduced mobility, and increased pain.

Temperature Therapy

During the first 48 hours after an injury, apply ice to numb pain and reduce swelling and inflammation. Ice packs should be used no more than 20 minutes each hour. After the first 48 hours, heat can be applied to promote blood flow and relax stiff joints and muscles. Switching between heat and cold also can reduce pain.

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