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Spondylolysis

Overview

Spondylolysis is a stress fracture between the weak point of two vertebrae found in adolescent athletes, adults, and seniors. 

Causes

Spondylolysis can result from several different causes:

  • Overuse. In adolescents, spondylolysis is typically found in athletes ages 10 to 15 whose sport requires repetitive motions of the back. We see spondylolysis most often in gymnasts, drivers, wrestlers, and children compete in the high jump and javelin events of track and field.
  • Usually caused by repetivite stress.  There is elongation and weaking of the bone leading to fracture.  This can cause the vertebrae to uncouple or losen and slip.  That slippage is referred to as spondylolisthesis.  The slippage or spondylolisthesis is graded from 1 to 4.  The higher the number the worse the slip.  
  • Can be genetic

Symptoms

  • Low back ache
  • Pain depending on where the fracture is.
  • Muscle pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Loss of range of motion

Diagnosis

First step toward diagnosis will be a physical exam by one of our physicians. Spondylolysis can also be diagnosed by X-Ray, MRI, or CT scan.

Treatment