Spondylolysthesis/Spondyloysis :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Spondylolysthesis/Spondylolysis

What is spondylolysis/spondylisthesis?

  • Common causes of low back pain in adolescents
  • Spondylolysis is a stress fracture in the vertebrae of the low back.
  • Spondylolisthesis occurs when that stress fracture becomes weak and unable to maintain its position and the vertebra begins to shift

What causes spondylolysis/spondylolisthesis?

  • These injuries are common in adolescents who participate in activities that involve a great deal of low back extension such as football offensive linemen and gymnasts.
  • Overuse

What are the symptoms?

  • Varying degrees of low back pain, especially with extension
  • Stiffness
  • Some patients may experience pain that shoots into their lower leg or buttocks.
  • Pain that becomes progressively worse over time (back pain lasting longer than 2-3 weeks).

What can I do to feel better?

  • Rest. Do not do things that cause pain.
  • Ice for 15-20 minutes at a time will help decrease swelling and pain.
  • Compression can be helpful to decrease swelling and pain.

When should I see a medical professional?

  • Back pain that lasts longer than 2-3 weeks.
  • These injuries require a period of rest followed by specialized range of motion and strengthening exercises. 
  • If your child is complaining of back pain after activities, talk to your pediatrician or sports medicine specialist for further evaluation and treatment.
  • If you are uncertain about the severity of the condition.
 

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700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000