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My Child Has Spondylolysis – Now What?
Friday, November 10, 2017

What is spondylolysis?

Spondylolysis is a stress fracture in one of the vertebrae at the base of the spinal column. It may also be referred to as a “pars” fracture. Spondylolysis is a common cause of low back pain in adolescent athletes, most commonly 10 to 15-year-olds.

The stress fracture occurs through a part of the vertebral bone called the pars interarticularis and is often broken on both sides. This part of the vertebra is thin and has a poor blood supply, making it more vulnerable to a break. The fracture may result from a direct trauma, by a focused strain (usually from athletic activity), or from a genetic weakness in this area of the bone.

Usually, pars stress fracture occurs as an adolescent, with 5-7% of adolescents estimated to have a pars fracture. It’s commonly found in people who participate in high impact athletics like gymnastics, dance, and wrestling, as well as sports with great rotational forces such as tennis, lacrosse, and baseball.

Most adolescents with spondylolysis have no symptoms, or their symptoms are mild and are often overlooked. The fracture may go undetected at the time of injury, feel like a strained back, or be extremely painful. If the spondylolysis is not identified and managed, the affected area may heal incorrectly, resulting in the possibility of continued stress that can lead to recurrent low back pain. It can also lead to spondylolisthesis, a condition where one vertebral body slips forward on the one below it.

Older adults can also develop spondylolysis because of degeneration in the disc, which can allow slippage even without a fracture. While the exact cause is unknown, it’s believed that it probably involves overloading the back part of the facet joints, which can eventually lead to stress fractures.

There is a lot of information to process after a spondylolysis diagnosis.  Please contact us to see how we can help or follow our blog for more information.





 
 
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