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What Is Spondylolysis?

Spondylolysis is a fracture between vertebrae in the spine usually caused by excessive flexion and extension of the lower back. It is commonly seen in football linemen, gymnasts, and ice skaters.

Spondylolysis can cause spondylolisthesis, which occurs when a vertebra slips out of place. Diagnosis and treatment for spondylolisthesis are usually similar to spondylolysis.

The most common symptom of spondylolysis is lower back pain. The pain generally spreads down the body from the lower back and gets worse with physical activity.

Spondylolysis may be caused by:

  • Excessive flexion and extension of the lower back
  • Growth spurts
  • Genetics (thinner vertebrae)

In addition to a physical exam and discussing your symptoms, your provider will use imaging to diagnose the condition, which may include:

UR Medicine's Treatments for Spondylolysis

The Integrated Spine Care team at UR Medicine brings together neurosurgeons, neurologists, physical therapists, and neuro-pain management specialists. These experts focus on holistic care and wellness while specializing in surgical and non-surgical treatment options.

Treatment of spondylolysis may include:

  • Rest
  • Medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Bracing
  • Surgery (rarely)

Your provider will tell you when you may start exercising or playing sports again after treatment.

What Sets Us Apart?

UR Medicine is a world-class medical center and leading academic institution. Our providers offer outstanding patient-centered care and conduct breakthrough research in neurology. The Integrated Spine Care team at UR Medicine has proven excellence in spine care for over 30 years in the Rochester region.Our specialists aim to get patients into a treatment program quickly to effectively control symptoms and improve quality of life.

UR Medicine is one of the few centers in the region that offer a variety of non-invasive spine procedures. These approaches are minimally disruptive procedures that allow the surgeon to have direct access to the intervertebral disc space and fuse the lumbar spine from the side of the body as opposed to the front or back. This means instead of a large, open incision, the procedure is performed through a small incision to expedite recovery.

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