Spondylolysis, also known as a stress fracture or a pars defect, is a condition that affects facet joints. It is a weakness that could cause bones in the vertebrae to slip from their usual positions to result in a condition known as spondylolisthesis. Spondylolysis has been reported to be one of the top causes of lower back pain for adolescents and adults, especially those in sports. Consult a Shrewsbury spondylosis and spondylolysis specialist if your condition is affecting the quality of your life. Below is everything you need to know about this condition.
An overview of spondylolysis
Most people confuse spondylolysis with spondylolisthesis. However, the former is a crack or fracture of the vertebra, while the latter is a slip of vertebra out of place. Spondylolysis affects approximately 7% of the total United States population. The majority of these people participate in football or gymnastics. Repeated injuries gradually cause cracks that can be painful. Untreated conditions can prevent you from performing daily activities. The word pars defect refers to the same condition because it particularly affects a tiny bone known as interarticularis. Overall, a significant portion of people suffers from this issue.
What are the symptoms of spondylolysis?
People with spondylolysis have a weakness in their pars interarticularis, which is a thin bone between facet joints. It is possible that this condition can be caused by genes, while it is also possible that repetitive trauma plays a major role in the development of spondylolysis.
Symptoms of spondylolysis include stiffness in the lower back, muscle spasms, tingling legs, and weakness. These symptoms can be mild or severe, depending on the extent of your fracture. It is even possible to develop spondylolysis without experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned. Most patients who report these symptoms are teenagers around the age of 15.
Doctors need to carry out a comprehensive physical exam to determine the cause of your symptoms. Additionally, they may perform imaging tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), X-rays, and CT scans. This is usually to confirm your condition. After a successful diagnosis, the doctor can determine the best treatment option to ease your discomfort and restore functionality.
Treatment of spondylolysis
The doctor will discuss the possible treatment options depending on the diagnosis results. They may settle on medications, rest, or physical therapy for the first line of treatment. If non-surgical methods do not improve your condition, the doctor opts to use spine surgery. The most common spine surgeries include spinal fusion and spinal decompression. The main purpose is usually to treat the source of inflammation and irritation.
Surgical methods have their risks, but the benefits are more. Currently, most spine doctors have adopted minimally invasive procedures that have a shorter recovery time and less damage to the neighboring tissues. You may even go home on the same day.
You should seek medical attention if you experience worsening pain, shooting pain down the leg, and muscle strain across the lower back. Spondylolysis can have a severe impact on your body, preventing you from performing daily activities. Experts at the Center for the Functional Restoration of the Spine use the most advanced treatments for spondylolysis. Book an appointment online today.