Spine Stress Fractures in Young Athletes (spondylolisthesis)

Spondylolysis occurs when a thin bone that connects the vertebrae of the lower spine is impacted by overuse. Repeated stress can cause a fracture. It is so common that about 5% will experience this stress fracture of the spine at one time or another, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. So let’s take a closer look at spine stress fractures, why they often affect young athletes, and what you can do about them.

Back pain during sports. Young woman with an athletic figure and a lower back injury.

Spondylolisthesis: What You Need to Know

Basically, these spine stress fractures are the result of overuse. Putting pressure on the lumbar region repeatedly is the most common cause of such a stress fracture. This is why young athletes are at high risk. You are repeating movements that put a lot of pressure on the lumbar spine, and that can lead to this type of injury in which the pain is usually felt right along the belt line.

Athletes who take part in gymnastics, soccer, football, and dance are the most likely to experience these stress fractures because those sports require repeated movements that impact the lower spine. Keep in mind that spondylolisthesis can be acute or congenital.

So you may have injured yourself through repetitive movements, but the bones may have also been weak due to incorrect forming during fetal development. Some people are simply predisposed to this specific injury.

What Can You Do About Spine Stress Fractures?

Spondylolisthesis can be very painful, especially when standing and moving. You may require some rest and rehabilitation to ensure the injury heals fully and does not become worse or recur. This could mean taking some time off from the sport that led to the injury in order to heal, but it’s better to recover fully and go back to playing at 100% than to make the injury worse and possibly miss an entire season.

A chiropractor is in a good position to evaluate and treat spine conditions such as stress fractures. After your diagnosis, you will likely receive some rehab and advice on how to heal your spine as quickly as possible. The good news is that young athletes are often the fastest healers, so you should be back to your sport in no time as long as you get the care you need.

In the Fairfax area, Ward Chiropractic & Rehabilitation can help young athletes who are coping with this type of spine stress fracture. Call 703.672.1661 to schedule an appointment. We offer late afternoon appointments during the week as well as Saturday morning appointments to fit your busy schedule.