What is Spondylolysis?

A kind of stress fracture that develop in the lower back is referred to as spondylolysis. One of the common cause of low back pain seen among most of the people is considered to be spondylolysis. Simply put, spondylolysis is a defect that affects the vertebrae. Spondylolysis is a very common diseases that affect 3 to 6% of the total population. People younger than 26 years old are more prone to get spondylolysis. The condition is seen more in children and teens who actively participate in sports activities. It is seen more in males than in females.

What causes spondylolysis?

The pars interarticularis is a section of the vertebrae, that connects the upper and lower facet joints. A weakness in this section of vertebrae causes spondylolysis. The main cause for this weakness is not known. It is believed that some people are born with thin and weak vertebrae, which later causes spondylolysis. It is also said that, repetitive trauma to the lower back can also cause spondylolysis.

What are the symptoms of spondylolysis?

 In most cases, spondylolysis does not show any symptoms and it goes unnoticed by the patient. Low back pain is the most probable symptom. When the condition becomes worse, the pain spreads across the lower back. Sometimes, the pain may feel like a muscle strain. The pain will get vigorous with strenuous physical activity or exercise.

How is spondylolysis diagnosed?

Physical examination and checking medical history alone may not be enough to finalize spondylolysis. To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor will suggest an X-ray, a CT or MRI. These imaging can also help the doctor to rule out the underlying condition that causes the condition.

How is spondylolysis treated?

The doctor will start with conservative treatment options as initial treatment. The main aim of initial treatment will be to reduce pain. It will also permit the fracture to heal and the patient will become able to return to normal function soon. The patient may need to avoid sports and other physical activities during the treatment period. The doctor may also suggest medication to reduce pain. To increase the movement, exercise or physical therapy may also be suggested.If the condition is severe, it may require braces or back support to stabilize the lower back. Sometimes, epidural steroid injections may also be prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation.

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