Spondylolysis - Gymnastics Injuries

What is spondylolysis?

Spondylolysis is a condition which affects many sportspeople; it is also known as a stress fracture of the lower back. In gymnastics, this condition affects many adolescents; this is due to the strain placed on the back while it is still growing and developing.

Causes of spondylolysis

The most common cause of a lower back stress fracture is overuse; this is true in most cases in gymnastics. The bottom lumbar vertebra (L5) is the most commonly affected disc.

Symptoms of Spondylolysis

The most common symptoms include pain in the lower back, which may intensify during physical activity or when the back is bent backwards. Other symptoms include localised swelling.

Treating Spondylolysis

The most effective treatment is rest; usually the fracture will heal after about 6 weeks of rest. A back brace may also be worn to offer further support and protection. Once the injury has healed, physiotherapy will help to strengthen the muscles in the back and increase movement in the affected area; this should be done gradually.

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