Lumbar Spondylolysis

Lumbar Spondylolysis

Lumbar Spondylolysis

What is Lumbar Spondylolysis?

Spondylolysis happens once a crack forms within the bony ring on the back of the spinal column. Usually, this occurs within the low back & this defect is because of trauma or stress fracture from a chronic repetitive loading. If this instability results in translation of the vertebral body, spondylolisthesis has occurred. This process requires a fracture or deformation of the posterior spine elements creating an elongation of the pars. This condition occurs in all ages with the underlying cause varying based on age group.

Although spondylolysis can affect individuals of any age, children and adolescents are most susceptible. Children & adolescents are most affected because their spines are still developing, and the pars are the weakest part of the vertebra. Young athletes who participate in sports in which the spine is repeatedly bent backwards, such as gymnastics, football, and karate are most affected.

Spondylolysis becomes a problem if it is painful or associated with instability of the spine. In these situations, it may be associated with lumbar disc degeneration of narrowing of the area where the nerve roots exit the spinal column (the neural foramina). This may be a cause of back and leg pain. Patients with this condition should avoid extension movements of the spine since it promotes increased spondylolysthesis.


Causes of Lumbar Spondylolysis

  • Aging:Aging is the common cause as the passage of time leads to change in the bones of the spine and other problems. Unfortunately, this usually means that the disease is progressive and irreversible. Being over the age of 40 increases one’s risk for lumbar spondylosis.
  • Abnormal spinal movement:Overuse of the back or other physically strenuous activity can put increased amounts of stress on the lumbar vertebrae, leading to injury.
  • Generics:Those genetically predisposed to weak bones and ligaments is also at inflated risk for injury to the lumbar spine.
  • Lifestyle:Certain lifestyle habits affect the integrity of bones.
  • Obesity:Excess weight put extra load on the joints of the lumbar region, accelerating wear-and-tear of the lumbar joints.
  • Sitting for longer period of time:As it puts pressure on the lumbar vertebrae.
  • Prior injury:Makes one more susceptible for lumbar spondylosis development.



  • Localized pain
  • Pain after sitting for a long time
  • Worsening pain after repeating movement over and over.
  • Muscle spasms
  • Regional tenderness
  • Tingling, numbness in the limbs
  • Weakness of affected limb due to possible nerve compression
  • Bending fully backward increases pain.



Treatment with physical therapy at SOS PHYSIO

After evaluating your condition, SOS PHYSIO’s physical therapist can assign positions and exercises to ease your symptoms; they may design an exercise program to improve the strength and control of your back and abdominal muscles. There are many physical therapy treatments such as Manual therapy & Active Release Techniques (ART) that have been shown to be very effective in treating this condition.

For more information- Contact your local SOS PHYSIO clinic.


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