Spondylolisthesis treatment is determined based on the type of spinal condition you are diagnosed with, the grade level assigned, and the severity of your symptoms. Spondylolisthesis treatment consists of non-surgical treatment, prevention, and surgery.

Non-Surgical Spondylolisthesis Treatment

  • Medications – Acetaminophen can be prescribed for pain. NSAIDS’s and/or oral steroids can be prescribed to reduce inflammation.
  • Heat and/or Ice – Heat or ice helps to reduce localized pain. Ice is recommended to relieve pain or discomfort right after an activity. Heat is recommended to relax your muscles, which can help to promote blood flow and healing.
  • Physical Therapy – Stretching is the best form of physical therapy. Stretching your hamstrings twice a day can alleviate stress on your lower back. Make sure each movement you make is controlled, but gradually increases.
  • Manual Manipulation – Chiropractic manipulation can possibly help to reduce pain by mobilizing joint dysfunction. It is extremely important that you contact a trained health professional.

Spondylolisthesis Treatment – Prevention

The best way to prevent spondylolisthesis is to take the steps necessary to prevent vertebra slippage. There are a number of steps you can take now to help reduce your risks later.


  • Calcium is needed to build strong bones. Fortified milk has vitamin D that is needed for proper calcium absorption. Drink low-fat and skim milk and eat nonfat yogurt and reduced-fat cheeses for good sources for calcium.
  • Soy contains calcium, as well as plant estrogens. It helps to maintain bone density. Try soy cereals and soy cheeses. Consider making a smoothie with soy milk.
  • Limit your intake of protein because too much can raise your excretion of calcium. Women should not have more than 50 grams per day and men not more than 63 grams.
  • Onions have been known to reduce bone breakdown.


Exercise is an effective preventative spondylolisthesis treatment. A weight bearing exercise program can help to stop further bone loss and can help you build bone as you age. It can also improve your posture, balance, and flexibility. Try exercising at minimum 30 minutes three times a week. Walking, running, low-impact weight lifting, stair climbing, volleyball, and tennis are great ways to get in some exercise.

While swimming is a great exercise, you must incorporate this into one of the other exercises mentioned above. Swimming will not allow your bones and muscles to work against gravity, which will not help in bone-building.

Be careful when lifting weights that you do not overexert yourself. This could end up leading to isthmic spondylolisthesis. If you are interested in sports, such as gymnastics, football, or pole vaulting, you will want to take steps to prevent hyperextension. Shorter practices will go a long way in helping to prevent spinal injury. A trained coach will understand this. Parents should get involved and make sure the coaches are acting in the best interest of their child.

If you have lordosis, avoid hyperextension sports. Lordosis is an exaggerated inward curvature just above the buttocks. It is caused by weak and stretched muscles around the hip and spine. This causes an imbalance. Lordosis increases your chances of experiencing spondylolisthesis.


Calcium is a great supplement to include in your daily routine as a preventative spondylolisthesis treatment. Men and women need 1,000 mg of calcium a day during midlife. This will increase to 1,500 to 2,000 mg for women during menopause and men after age 65.

These supplements should be taken throughout the day and not in just one lump dose. This is because your body can only absorb a limited amount of calcium at one time. Always take with meals. Choose a supplement that contains vitamin D to help with the absorption.


  • Stop smoking. Smokers tend to have a lower bone-mineral density. This can lead to a higher risk for falls causing spinal fractures and hip fractures. Fractures heal slower in people who smoke and are more likely to heal improperly.
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol. Alcohol prevents your body from absorbing calcium properly.
  • Depression can cause your body to produce cortisol. This can take minerals from your bones. Don’t let your depression get out of hand. Talk to a doctor as soon as possible to see if there is something that can be done to help you.

Spondylolisthesis Treatment – Surgery

In the majority of cases, non-surgical spondylolisthesis treatment is sufficient. However, if all angles have been exhausted, there is the option of spinal fusion surgery. Spinal fusion surgery is effective; however, it does require a long recovery period.

You do not have to live with the pain. Contact your doctor for further details on the different steps that can be taken for spondylolisthesis treatment.