Spondylolysthesis (L3 over L4, likely Grade 1) and degenerative disc disease

by Susan
(Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

I am a 69 year old female with strong hip bones! It's pretty much downhill from there and I need my bones to last for another 20 years.

I have severe degeneration in my neck with movement restriction but not too much discomfort (luckily the spaces the nerves pass through are huge).

My lower back is more of an issue and I understand the disk slip is likely the cause. I play tennis and golf. My Florida chiropractor uses a table like the one I see on your website-my spine is held stationary and the lower part of the table is moved side-to-side. It seems to help and feels good, but could you explain what it is doing? The chiropractors in Toronto don't seem to use these tables.

I came across your YouTube video on Building Core Lower Back Muscles (quadratus lamborum and Iliopsoas). These exercises somewhat duplicate the feeling of the chiropractic table, and seem to bring some motion into stiff joints. Thank you!

You mention exercises that need to be done every day. Can you let me know what I should be doing for my back, and possibly for my neck?

Many thanks,
Susan

Hello Susan,
Thank you for your letter, and it's great to hear how active you still are; the longer you can keep it up the better for your body and mind. Just accept that you can't hit the ball so far any more; forcing it will only injure you.

There are two kinds of spondylolysthesis and it sounds like you have the degenerative kind; wear and tear after a lot of golf and probably a few falls on the ice too.

I think the table you must be looking at is called a McManis traction table. There are many companies making them; mine is nearly 40 years old and still in daily use.

It opens and closes the facet joints, like the hip hike exercise you found, but tractioning the joints at the same time; it's even more beneficial but that home exercise is a treat; I do it myself every morning before getting out of bed.

At Chiropractic Help, in the navigation bar on the left, you'll find the exercises. Do them in bed every morning before arising. They take about two minutes.

Please send a separate letter for your neck.

Dr B






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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.



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