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Spondylolysis is a disease of the spine that can be painful, and it’s a problem with the connection between the vertebrae, the bones that make up the spine. Spondylolysis can lead to minor stress fractures or tears, often after repeated injuries during exercise.
It is also known as a “scan defect” because it affects a tiny bone in the spine called the interarticular part.
Is Spondylolysis The Same Is Spondylolisthesis?
Spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis are connected but not the same.
Spondylolisthesis occurs when a vertebra slides over the vertebra below.
Spondylolysis is a mutual cause of spondylolisthesis because the tear in the vertebrae can cause the bone to slip.
How Common Is Spondylolysis?
Spondylolysis affects about 3-7% of Americans. It often occurs in children and adolescents, especially when playing gymnastics or football. The spine, but not inward bending (inward bending), can cause tiny tears in the vertebrae.
What Are The Causes Of Spondylolysis?
When you have spondylolysis, you usually have weakness in a section of the vertebra called the interarticular part. This thin piece of bone attaches the facet joints, which connect the vertebrae directly above and below, in a unit of work that allows movement of the spine. Cracks are often called pars ruptures.
While we’re not sure exactly why weakness occurs, your genes may play a role. You might be born with thin vertebrae, which puts you at a higher risk of pars fractures. Repeated trauma to the lower back, for example, repeated injuries from sports or other activities, can also weaken the pars interarticularis.
What Are The Symptoms Of Spondylolysis?
It is possible to have spondylolysis and not even feel symptoms. When you have symptoms, back pain is the most common. Pain often:
- Spread across the lower back.
- Feel like a muscle strain.
- It is made worse like an extension
Symptoms usually appear during the teenage growth spurt. The typical age for diagnosis is 15 to 16 (lower for women)
How Is Spondylolysis Diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and medical history. You will probably also need imaging tests.
What Imaging Tests Might I Need?
An x-ray of the lower back can demonstrate if the vertebrae are broken. You may also need a CT or MRI scan to find minor fractures or rule out other spine conditions that could cause back pain, such as a herniated disc (bulge) or a pinched nerve.
How Is Spondylolysis Treated?
Doctors often use non-surgical methods to treat spondylolysis. Your treatment may include activity modification drugs and physical therapy. In rare cases, surgery is necessary.
What Are The Non-Surgical Treatments For Spondylolysis?
The treatment goals are to relieve the pain, heal the fracture, and get back to your daily activities. You may need to follow the treatment routine for a few weeks or months for complete relief.
- Leisure: Take a break from exercise and other vigorous activities.
- Medication: Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Motrin®), can help reduce pain and inflammation. Your doctor can prescribe more vital medicines if needed.
- Steroid injections: Your doctor will inject steroids directly into the affected area for pain relief.
- Physiotherapy: A physiotherapist will help you learn exercises to strengthen your muscles and improve your flexibility so that you can move around painlessly.
- Orthotics: Sometimes, health care providers recommend a back splint to help stabilize the spine while the pars fracture heals.
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