T Nation

Competing with Spondylolisthesis


Hello,guys!Happy new year!

I don't know what to start with so i will begin with the very beginning.So I am 20 years old now,93kg doing powerlifting for about 3-4 year and also competion since that time.I have 2 world championships for subjuniors one of them I was on 4th place.

I don't aim to tell you that I am good or something ,I just want you to understand that powerlifting means a lot to me,everything to me,and I am competing and I want to do it a lot more in the future!I have goals and dreams about it.But...

5 months ago I started having pain in my butt on the right side and the pain was starting from the butt continuing to the ankle.I didn't know what was it,maybe some regular pain.So I did't stop.I couldn't lift any max weights because of the pain but I could do many reps on a heavy weight.My maxes was 250 squat ,200 bench and 275 deadlift(i could do 5-10kg more) all raw.

So I couldn't put more than 220 squat but I could do 10x200 so that continued about 2 weeks until I couldn't deadlift even 70kg because of the pain.So I did scanner on my back and the doctor said I have spondylolisthesis first grade 0,93cm.He ,of course ,said I won't be able to lift anymore.I did my own research ,I contacted people with the same problem(found a man that recovered from that,he is training martial arts and said he was pain free for about 3-4 months doing a lot of core workout and stretches,after years he did a scanner again and his vertebrae was calcified(connected to the other vertebrae again) and I started my own recovery.

I did a lot of core workout(twice a day) - planks,abs wheel ,leg raises and etc. exercises for stabilization.ALso I did a lot of stretching for the tight hamstring.I started from 70kg squat and deadlift.I perfected my form.I started lifting all by the legs because my technique was not the best.On the deadlift I used to arch and put pressure on my spine a lot,on the squat I also used i a lot my back.So I started lifting everything with streight back.

At the beginning I had pain even when I crouched,bend forward and etc.Also to notice is that I used a lot of arch on the bench.I started benching without that much arch but now I bench also with a bit pressure on the spine.So...I started lifting again.I deadlifted 260kg without any pain.The squat was tougher because of the new technique.

I started squatting the olympic weightlifting way - high bar,straight back,all on legs.But ...a week after that - pain again...I started again lower weights ,abs every day.3 weeks ago I did maxes on the three lifts(I did every lift 3-4 times a week) and I squated 200kg very very easy without pain and deadlifted 245kg also easy and painless.But guess what...next week pain again..

I was doing the bench many times a week but with the legs up on the bench so that i would do no arch on the back.Only 2 times a week I did it with legs down with a bit of an arch.So I decided I would do 2 times a week the squat and the deadlift and also the bench.The first time it would be light - squat 5s on 120 and deadlift 5s on 170kg.The heavy - squat - 3x150 and dead - 3x200.

Yes,last week I had no problems but yesterday...pain again on 160kg deadlift...I am doing it with as perfect form as I can...but...
I want to say that I don't feel the pain now as the beginning.Now I can bend over and crouch painless,I feel it sometimes when I do specific movements.But sometimes I feel my hamstring veeeery tight ,so tight that i feel pain.

Also I have tingle in my ankle.I wanted to go to the IPF European this March RAW for juniors but...I will not be able.
I started taking for about 2 months - gelatine,vit D,b-complex,calcium,omega-3 and some light anti-inflammatory.So guys my questions are these:

1.If someone out there had the same problem(I read many topics about that) and is doing/competing in powerlifting or weightlifting,what should I do?Should I do a surgery or what?I mean if anyone can give me an advice please help because I started feeling very depressed about it.I would be very glad if i find a powerlifter/weightlifter recovered from that and started competing on a high level again.

2.Would any steroids help?(I haven't taken any but if it will help I will do it).I said above what supplements I started taking but..What should I do so that my vertebrae can calcify and recover?

3.If surgery would be necessarily ,would I be able to compete afterwards?

Thank you a lot guys.I will really appreciate any opinion and advice!


No steroids.

Soft tissue work on the paraspinal muscles will help. Occasionally getting dry needling done. But mostly get a pvc pipe, roll that fucker in a yoga mat, and use that as a foam roller to hit your back up twice daily.

Some people over stretch their backs too. Be mindful.

If you have any other muscluar imbalances maybe a qualified pt could assist?


Thank you for your reply!
First,why no steroids?I mean wouldn’t it help recover faster?The friend of mine who said his vertebrae calcified(connected again to the other),wouldn’t that happen faster with steroids?
I will definitely try foam rolling it,thank you.And how would that help?It will decrease the “pain” I have?!And about the pt,I 've seen 1 or 2 people but they could not really help me with the problem.I should see them again about other disbalances.


Find a good chiro whos also ART qualified


What do you mean by ART qualified?


Active Release Technique -its the gold standard of soft tissue therapy


How are you doing mate? I have the exact same problem. You still on the site?