Spondylolysis

What is spondylolysis?


Spondylolysis is a condition that affects your vertebrae – the bones that make up your spine. The vertebrae develop small cracks as a result of stresses put on them. Spondylolysis usually happens in the vertebrae in your lower spine. Some people are born with the condition, whereas others develop it as a result of stresses placed on the vertebrae during sport.

Symptoms of spondylolysis


The main symptom of spondylolysis is lower back pain. This may feel like a strained muscle. Symptoms can also include numbness or weakness in one or both legs, sometimes leading to a loss of leg function.

Causes of spondylolysis


Spondylolysis usually happens in people who take part in sports or activities that require repeated overstretching and rotating of the spine. It’s more common in people who fast bowl in cricket or do gymnastics. Spondylolysis is also common in people who play tennis, do a lot of rowing, dancing, weight lifting or throwing sports.

A vertebra can be defective from birth (congenital). It can also be broken by trauma or a stress fracture, or broken down by infection or disease.

Treatment for spondylosis


You should seek treatment from a sports and orthopaedic professional.

You will need to rest and stop doing any sports or activities that are causing you pain. Resting will allow the vertebrae to heal.

You may be given a lumbar corset to wear to relieve the pain and aching. Painkillers may also be helpful in relieving pain. Physiotherapy or injection to the spine will help with the symptoms.

Occasionally, surgery is needed if the pain continues despite treatment.

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