Athletes with chronic lower back pain? Could be Spondylolysis

Spondylolysis is a stress fracture usually occurring in the lumbar spine at the L5 level and is a very common source of lower back pain in adolescent athletes. The posterior aspect  of the vertebral column isn’t fully ossified until the age of 25. The fracture usually occurs in the “pars interarticularis” which is an area of the vertebrae  between the facet joints.  The athlete usually complains of chronic, dull, lower back pain with activity and feels better with rest or lying down.

Aggravating factors include:

  • High impact sports (football, weight lifting?
  • Increased anterior pelvic tilt
  • Tightness of the iliopsoas, thoracolumbar fascia, TFL, and rectus femoris  
  • Weakness of the rectus abdominus, obliques,

Treatment usually does not involve surgery and a full recovery can be expected in 3-4 months of activity modification, core strengthening, and focused stretching.  A word of caution: you must avoid repeated spinal flexion, extension, and excessive rotation as these motions can aggravate the condition.  

If you or someone you know if having lower back pain, schedule an appointment today.  You can schedule online from our ‘Home page” and follow the “schedule link”. Let me know if you have any questions,

Have a great night,

Ed Deboo, PT

Bellingham, Physical Therapy