Spondylolysis is a lower back injury in children and adolescents that can cause pain in the lumbar area. This is typically an overuse injury that is seen in young athletes. Most commonly in gymnasts, divers, linebackers, and weightlifters who experience repetitive stress on the lower back. The lumbar vertebrae become fractured which causes pain that is usually worse when bending backwards. The fractured vertebrae can be seen on X-ray most of the time and usually involves the L4 or L5 vertebrae.
Treatment for Spondylolysis begins with rest from sports and strenuous activity. These patients are also treated in a TLSO brace with thigh cuff for 3 months. The brace is worn during the day and is only taken off for showers and sleeping to allow the fracture to heal. Patients are seen by Dr. Bradley in the office and the diagnosis is made by x-ray and examination, in some instances further imaging may be indicated. If a brace is indicated the patient will be sent to the Orthotist for measurements. Once the brace has been made the patient will begin wearing the brace as instructed.
The patient will have follow up appointments and activity will gradually be re-introduced into their daily activities. Once the fracture is healed the brace will be discontinued and the patient will be able to return to sports.