What Is Spondylolysis? Your lower back is called your lumbar spine. It is made up of five bones called lumbar vertebrae. The vertebrae have two major parts, a solid part called the body and a bony ring through which the lower part of the spinal cord and nerves travel. Between the bodies of the vertebrae is shock absorbing material called discs. Part of the ring of each vertebra, called the pars, touches the vertebra above it and the vertebra below it. Spondylolysis is a condition where there is a break in one or both sides of the vertabra. This conditions are also called, pars defects pars stress fractures, or stress fractures.
How Does It Occur? Spondylolysis results from repetitive extension of the back ( bending backward) . This causes weakness in the rings of the lumbar vertebrae, even you may have low back pain pr spasms, or you may have no symptoms at all. You may have pain all the time or only from time to time. Spondylolysis usually does not damage the nerves.
Spondylolysis Treatment: For periods of acute pain your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication or other pain medications. You should place ice packs on your back for 20 to 30 minutes every 3 to 4 hours for 2 to 3 days or until the pain goes away. You can participate in your sport or activity as long as you do not have pain. You may need to change your sport or activity to one that does not involve hyper-extending the back if your doctor thinks the break is new and that the bones could heal, he or she may recommend wearing a brace for one to three months. Spondylosis is a chronic problems. It is very important to keep your back in the best physical condition. Do not become over weight.
How Can I Prevent Spondyloslysis? You can best prevent these conditions by avoiding being over-weight. If you have Spondylolysis you may be able to prevent progression to Spondylolisthesis by doing back exercises and by avoiding forced back extension activities such as might occur during tackling in football.
It is important to have strong abdominal muscles when the structures of your spine are weakened. These exercises help build strong stomach muscles.
When Can I Return To My Sport Or Activity? The goal of rehabilitation is to return you to your sport or activity as soon as is safely possible. If you return too soon you may worsen your injury, which could lead to permanent damage. Everyone recovers from injury at a different rate. Return to your sport will be determined by how soon your back recovers, not by how many days or weeks it has been since your injury occurred. In general, the longer you have symptoms before you start treatment, the longer it will take to get better.
It is important that you have fully recovered from your low back pain before you return to your sport or strenuous activity. You must be able to have the same range of motion that you had before your injury. You must be able to run, jump, and twist without pain. Returning to sports with a back support may be necessary based on your physician's or physical therapist's recommendation.
Spondylolysis Rehabilitation Exercises:
1. Pelvic tilt: Lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, tighten your stomach muscles and push your lower back into the floor. Hold 5 seconds and relax. Repeat 10 times. Do 3 sets of 10.
As the pelvic tilt becomes easier, you can progress to an exercise called the dead bug.
2. Dead Bug: Tighten your stomach muscles and press your lower back into the floor. Lift up one leg several inches off the floor hold for 5 seconds, then lower it. Lift the other leg off the floor hold for 5 seconds, then lower it. Alternate legs, doing 5 repetitions with each leg and then relaxing the pelvic tilt. Do 3 sets of 10.
3. Partial Curl: Lie on your back on the floor or on another firm surface. Clasp your hands behind your neck for support, keeping your elbows pointed out to the side and don't use your arms to lift your upper body off the floor. Hold for 3 seconds and then slowly lower your shoulders to the floor. Repeat 10 times. Do a set of 10.
4. All Fours-To-Heels Sit: Kneel on the floor on all fours. Your palms should be flat on the floor in front of you and your back should be kept flat. Shift your weight backward and try to sit on your heels. Be sure to keep your back flat. Hold this position for 6 seconds. Return to the starting position. Do this 10 times.
5. Prone Hip Rotation: Lie on your stomach on the floor. Bend your knees so your thighs stay on the floor and your lower legs are perpendicular to the floor. Keep your knees off the floor and shoulder with apart. Cross your legs over each other as far as you can. Keeping your knees on the floor, uncross your lower legs and move them as far apart as possible. Hold for 2 seconds. Repeat 10 to 20 times. When you can do this exercise easily add ankle weights.
All material provided is designed for information purposes only and should not be used to replace the care of a health care professional. Do not rely on any of the information for diagnosis or treatment. It is recommended that you visit a qualified health care professional for individual and personal attention.