Spinal problems require special care, protection, and timely treatment. If it is not provided the condition may become worse. Techniques to treat spinal problems have also improved a lot in the last few decades along with the success rate. Nowadays, even severe spinal issues can be effectively treated. Not only this but newer and better spinal Orthopedic Instruments and Implants have also been introduced into the market, and that has also played a vital role in improving treatment outcomes.
Here, we will discuss one of the spinal conditions known as spondylolysis in detail. Let us see what the condition is.
What is Spondylolysis?
Spondylolysis is a spinal condition characterized by a tiny crack or stress fracture in the vertebrae. Specifically, spondylolysis affects pars interarticularis, a tiny bone that connects facet joints in the spine. The lower lumbar vertebra is known to be the most affected area with this condition. In certain cases, it can also affect the cervical region. Spondylolysis is a painful condition that becomes worse if timely treatment is not provided.
What Are the Causes?
There is no specific known cause of spondylolysis as the experts feel that genes may play a role. In this condition, the tiny bone pars interarticularis that connects facet joints in the spine becomes weak. And hence, it becomes prone to fracture as well.
Athletes who play sports that involve repetitive hyperextension of the spine are more prone to developing spondylolysis.
What Are the Symptoms?
Mild lower back pain is among the commonest symptoms of spondylolysis. But it is also possible that the person may have spondylolysis and don’t show any symptoms. Such situations are not so common though. Some other signs associated with the condition may include:
- Muscle spasms
- Pain that radiates down to the buttocks and legs
- Inability to perform routine tasks
- Difficulty in making movements that involve the spine
Spondylolysis may affect the early stages of life but it is often diagnosed at 15-16 years of age.
How It is Diagnosed?
Diagnosis of spondylolysis is often made with the questions regarding the symptoms experienced by the person along with his/her medical history. Along with this, certain imaging tests are also required. Commonly suggested tests to confirm the condition include:
- CT scan
How Spondylolysis is Treated?
Both surgical and non-surgical methods for the treatment of spondylolysis are available. The feasible treatment of the condition will be decided based on the severity and location. At first, the healthcare service provider often tries to fix the problem using non-surgical ways. They include:
A break from sports activities is a must to improve the symptoms.
NSAIDs are prescribed to curb pain and inflammation.
Physical therapy plays a vital role in improving the strength of muscles, range of motion, and flexibility of the spine.
Steroid Injections are given directly at the affected site to curb symptoms if medicines fail to relieve the condition.
Bracing is occasionally recommended to support the spine and allow pars interarticularis to heal.
When nothing works, surgery to stabilize the spine and repair the fracture is recommended.
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