Yoga teacher back pain spondylolysthesis

I have been a yoga teacher for around 5 years and have been suffering buttock and leg pain and pins and needles in legs for a few years now. Finally got so bad had an MRI scan that diagnosed lumbar spondylolysthesis and some arthritic facet joints. Advice from consultant - keep doing yoga, he would have advised that if wasn't already doing it. My plan was always to get a diagnosis then take that to my yoga teachers and get some therapeutic yoga to help. In the meantime I have been taking ibuprofen but it's efficacy seems to be lessening. Pain is worse standing, doing standing yoga poses and backbends.

So finally this week had consultation on Skype with yoga teacher specialist . She thinks I can reverse the vertebral misalignment with specific yoga poses done in a certain way. And advises to avoid certain poses and go back to being a beginner in certain poses. Plus more poses to further strengthen abdominals and core muscles that will support and help realignment.

Has anyone else experienced anything similar? Had any success? I will report back here with progress....

5 Replies

  • Yes...we probably have some things in common....I've been managing similar chronic probs in my lumbar & sacral spine for many years..and I'm a 61 yr old who has been practicing yoga since 21 & the Alexander technique since 28.

    As the decades have passed, my yoga + pilates + tai chi teachers have all helped me evolve a bespoke gentle stretching regime to do daily. I'd say that to some extent this has helped me realign, but because I'm globally hypermobile (ehlers danlos type) with infant onset systemic lupus & sjogrens (+ raynauds & other typical secondaries) causing severe tendon tightening in my spine, legs & feet, the full set of solutions that have reliably minimised my chronic pain and reduced my predisposition to multisystem inflammation is typically multifaceted, e.g. Due to damage to my internal repro organs caused by in utero exposure to the notorious artificial oestrogen DES (diethylstilboestrol), I've had to get extra help with pelvic floor strength & stability through gyn referral to specialist gyn physiotherapists.

    For the past 4 years, I've mainly stabilised & been feeling less pain than I have since my 20s in the 1970s. So, I feel it's v likely you'll succeed....even though our cases have many differences, e.g. As I imagine you're already doing, & as I've done all my adult life, I'm continuing to consistently lifestyle manage my probs with appropriate anti inflammation diet & supplements + pacing myself, meditating etc etc, BUT as of 4 years ago when the secret of my infant onset lupus was finally revealed, I've been on powerful prescription SLE meds which have vastly improved my life.

    Wishing you all the v best...i hope you'll let us know how you get on

  • Wow, Barnclown your conditions and symptoms sound horrendous, my situation is lots less severe. I'm glad you've managed to realign to some extent and that gives me hope I can do the same.

    All the very best wishes to you, good to hear the SLE meds have improved things for you.

  • Yes: horrendous is quite a good word for it, but I've got myself in perspective & do realise I'm actually vvv lucky to be able to be as well as I am. Typically, people who see me always say how well I look now. Of course, due the constant effort I have to make to look "well" + the fact the NHS is constantly monitoring me at several different clinics for various cancers + side effects of the serious meds I'm on etc, any smiling I do in reply to such comments is wry.

    But, the point is: if someone as complex as I am can benefit from a careful bespoke yoga regime, then it seems safe to imagine less complex people can too. And I think the way you're approaching your rehab is full of common sense and resourcefulness. It was lovely to read your post. And I'm grateful for your kind words 🌻🍀

  • Yes, I had chiro for my disc problems and discovered a congenital abnormality in my spine. Discs got fixed and left with the congenital abnormality which causes most of my pain nowadays.

    I did pilates for quite a while and there were exercises and levels I just could not do. So I think it must be the same for yoga. There are some I have been advised not to do ever. I have a long list of things I can't do, although I do test them gingerly from time to time, just to see.

    It is possible to realign bones and discs via alternative therapy. I would suggest you get someone to do it for you, so they can see what's happening in your body. There is such a fine line between benefit and failure, and you can't see your back properly yourself.

    The chiro was extremely painful and he removed layers of compensation pain first, then treated the actual injury. I had my spine straightened and my body balanced. He used various techniques not just chiro manipulation, more what was needed to release a particular area at the time of treatment. I remember one session was just hanging upside down on his table.

    Being a yoga teacher yourself, you will understand the slow battle of relaxing muscles in spasm, and rebuilding them into healthy function.

    I then did pilates to keep the good work done by the chiro. I did stay at level 1 for much longer and did fewer reps than the rest of the class. When I did finally catch up, I overdid it was way too confident and blase about my body's ability, and my body locked up.

    But going back to the beginning of yoga is good advice, slowing right down, taking it easy. Even focusing on the breathing and seeing what expansion and contraction do to your pain.

    I do a bit of yoga now and again - it's an app I found specifically for back pain and it's all done sitting on a chair, or holding the chair. Even some of that is challenging for my body.

    If you don't expect too much too soon and are prepared for it to take a while, maybe be worse for a while too, then it's worth doing the alternative route.

  • Contact and do the teaching course. 😜

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