How To Sit and Sleep With Spondylolisthesis?

If you have symptomatic spondylolisthesis, you likely know that the condition can make it difficult to sit and sleep comfortably. This spinal disorder occurs when one vertebra in the lumbar spine slips out of position and sits on the vertebra directly beneath it. When this occurs, the displaced vertebra may press on spinal nerves and/or the spinal cord, leading to pain and neurological symptoms. 

Table of Contents

With the few simple adjustments provided below, you can sit and sleep in comfort despite a spondylolisthesis diagnosis. 

How To Sleep If You Have Spondylolisthesis?

To sleep comfortably with spondylolisthesis, you must focus on alleviating pressure on the lower back. 

  • Sleeping on your stomach tends to force the spine into an arched position, which places extra stress on the lumbar spine. This is why lying on the stomach tends to be the worst sleeping position for spondylolisthesis patients. 
  • Side-sleeping with bent knees involves less compression of the lower spine. However, this position can also lead to tight hip flexor and quadricep muscles. If sleeping on your side is the most natural position for you, try to keep only a slight bend in your knees to minimize muscle tension. 
  • Sleeping on your back is widely considered to be the best sleeping position for spinal health. Unfortunately, it’s also the least natural sleeping position for many people, so it may take time to get used to. Placing a rolled-up towel or pillow beneath your knees can further reduce the arch in your lumbar spine while sleeping on your back. 

Some patients with spondylolisthesis achieve the most pain relief while sleeping in a reclined position. Reclining keeps your legs at an angle to your torso, which can minimize the stress on your spine. You can try this sleeping position by using pillows to prop up your torso, and if it benefits you, you may want to consider an adjustable bed. 

Does Sitting Cause Spondylolisthesis Pain?

Sitting doesn’t directly cause spondylolisthesis. However, in patients who have spondylolisthesis, sitting can trigger pain flare-ups. Specifically, sitting in a slouched, twisted, or bent position can lead to spondylolisthesis pain.  

How To Sit Comfortably With Spondylolisthesis?

If you have spondylolisthesis, sitting with good posture in a chair with adequate lower back support is ideal for pain prevention. Good posture while sitting involves keeping your back straight with your shoulders back and relaxed. If you’re working on a computer, the screen should be positioned at eye level so that you don’t have to tilt your head up or down. 

Placing a rolled-up towel or a lumbar roll pillow behind your lower back can help you sit comfortably in chairs without enough support. Additionally, make sure to keep your hips level and your legs uncrossed while you sit to keep your lumbar spine aligned. 

How Long Does Spondylolisthesis Pain Last?

Spondylolisthesis may last for different periods depending on the patient. Many young individuals with spondylolisthesis recover within just three to six months after receiving proper treatment. In older individuals, pain may require several months of treatment to subside. 

Patients who require surgery for spondylolisthesis may need six months to one year to fully recover after the procedure. This recovery period can vary depending on the procedure. 

How is Surgery Used To Relieve Spondylolisthesis Pain?

Spinal decompression with spinal fusion is the most common surgical treatment approach for spondylolisthesis. Spinal decompression involves removing certain spinal structures to alleviate nerve compression.

Fusion involves permanently fusing the affected vertebrae to form a single bone using bone graft material. This process inhibits all motion between the vertebrae to prevent instability.  

Unfortunately, spinal fusion involves a lengthy recovery period, can severely limit patients’ mobility, and creates the risk of adjacent segment disease, or ASD. For these reasons, more patients are considering innovative non-fusion implants, such as the TOPS System from Premia Spine. 

Premia Spine TOS System Testimonials

David danced at his son's wedding

Bonnie explains why TOPS surgery was the right decision for her

Wade is back to hiking

Scott speaks about going to surgery

Regain your mobility with Premia Spine! Contact us now

How To Stop Spondylolisthesis Pain?

Aside from spondylolisthesis treatment surgery, several conservative treatment methods can help most patients overcome spondylolisthesis pain. These methods include:

  • Healthy habits

Adopting healthy habits helps speed healing and alleviate pain for spondylolisthesis patients. These habits may include quitting smoking, engaging in a low-impact exercise regimen, eating a nutrient-dense diet, and avoiding activities that strain the spine. 

  • Pain medications

Pain medications may be used to help patients with lumbar spondylolisthesis manage pain and inflammation during the recovery process. Your physician can advise you on whether to use over-the-counter or prescription medications. 

  • Physical therapy

Physical therapy is an imperative part of the recovery process for most spondylolisthesis patients. It’s used to alleviate pain by strengthening the back and abdominal muscles, improving mobility, correcting poor posture, and reducing inflammation. Physical therapy is implemented in both non-surgical treatment plans and post-op recovery plans for spondylolisthesis patients. 

  • Bracing

Patients of all ages with spondylolisthesis may benefit from wearing a brace to stabilize the spine while it heals. 

Spondylolisthesis can be painful and uncomfortable. However, with the proper care, you can overcome spinal pain, stiffness, and other symptoms. 

If you have spondylolisthesis, consider reading more about Premia Spine TOPS System – this is a proven alternative to the spinal fusion of the lumbar region of the spine.