When teen or adolescent athletes complain of low back pain, the culprit could be a tiny crack or stress fracture in one of the vertebrae. This condition, called spondylolysis, generally improves with rest, rehabilitation and return to activity. Keep reading to learn more.

Causes & Triggers

  • Genetics/heredity
  • Repetitive bending and straightening
  • Sports injuries (especially football, diving, gymnastics)

Signs & Symptoms

  • At times, no obvious symptoms.
  • Feeling of strained muscle
  • Low back pain ranging from sharp to dull ache
  • Pain aggravated by bending and straightening

Tips & Treatments

  • Spondylolysis is also called a Pars stress fracture, because it occurs in the pars interarticularis portion of the lumbar spine where upper and lower joints come together.
  • Treatment may involve rest from injury-causing sport or activity, anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, hot or cold packs, stretching and strengthening exercises, and bracing or supportive devices.
  • Surgical treatment, while not usually necessary, may be required in progressive instances.