210819 What are the symptoms of Spondylolysis?
By Rickey Dale Crain
Most children with spondylolysis, and even some children with spondylolisthesis are aymptomatic, and may grow up not even aware that they have the condition. For those with symptoms, back pain is probably the most common symptom, and presents during the adolescent growth spurt. There is often a history of trauma at sports, usually trivial, and an X-ray reveals the “fracture”. If the child continues to have good range of motion of the back, it is probably safe to say that the spondylolysis is not due to that particular injury, but a result of years of cumulative stress of the back. Sometimes the child is brought in by the parents because of poor posture or funny gait. This is usually due to spondylolisthesis, causing muscle spasm in the back that makes the back stiff, and tight hamstrings causing the child to walk with the knees bent, and a short stride. Sometimes, there is an associated scoliosis that is more obvious to the observer than the spondylolisthesis.
How do you prevent it?
There is not too much you can do about your genes, but there is certainly something you can do about your activities. Avoiding sports in the growing years is usually not an option, but you can choose your sports wisely. For your little gymnast, limiting the number of hours of practice (unless she is an aspiring Olympian), or alternating gymnastics with another sport like swimming or bicycling may be helpful. There is no place for weight-lifting in the pre-pubertal child. If your child was incidentally found to have spondylolysis with no symptoms, there is no need to restrict his or her activities. The chances of an aymptomatic spondylolysis developing a slip is not high enough to justify restriction of activities.
NOTICE: The information presented is for your information only, and not a substitute for the medical advice of a qualified physician. The author nor the publisher will be responsible for any harm or injury resulting from interpretations of the materials in this article.
Rickey Dale Crain
IPF / WPC / AAU World Champion
York Barbell Hall of Fame / USPF Hall of Fame
3803 North Bryan Road
Shawnee, Oklahoma 74804 USA