Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Lower Spine News

Cause of a Teenaged Crack in the Back

Some boys and girls involved in sports seem to be at risk for a certain kind of back problem. Ballerinas, football players, and weight lifters are the most likely to develop this problem. It's called spondylolysis. This is a term used to describe a defect, or crack, that forms in the bony ring on the back of the spinal column. The area affected is called the pars interarticularis, so doctors sometimes refer to this condition as a "pars defect."

It remains unknown what causes this defect to occur. Doctors think that repetitive stress on the bone is the most frequent cause. Others include weakness of the nearby soft tissue, a defect in the bone that is present at birth, and traumatic spine injuries.

In young athletes, this problem can be treated with temporary changes in activities. For example, the athlete is instructed to avoid overextending the back or repeating spine motions in any direction. Physical therapy treatment and pain medication can also be helpful.

Any young athlete who develops painful back symptoms should be seen by a doctor. Early treatment can help young people avoid serious injury later.

Charles A. Reitman, MD, et al. Lumbar Isthmic Defects in Teenagers Resulting From Stress Fractures. In The Spine Journal. July/August 2002. Vol. 2. No. 4. Pp.305-306.


*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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