A stress fracture in the vertebrae, particularly in the thin bone connecting vertebrae, is called spondylolysis. This is a common condition – it is estimated that one in twenty adults have spondylolysis. While many people have this condition without any symptoms, it can cause pain and other symptoms. At DOCS Health, we offer cervical, thoracic and lumbar spondylolysis treatment at our medical center in Los Angeles, CA.
Spondylolysis is very common due to the normal stress that is put on the spine. Stress fractures in the pars interarticularis, a thin piece of bone connecting the vertebrae, can occur simply from normal activities, but it occurs frequently with young athletes. Spondylolysis treatment is needed when the fracture causes pain or limits mobility.
Spondylolysis in the cervical spine is rare compared to the lumbar spine, but not as rare as in the thoracic spine. When stress fractures occur in the cervical spine it is often due to trauma, injury or a congenital condition. Severe cases can cause neck pain and other symptoms such as muscle spasms, headaches and stiffness. Cervical spondylolysis responds well to conservative treatments and rarely requires surgery.
The 12 vertebrae in the thoracic spine have more stability than the lumbar and cervical spine, which reduces the risk of spondylolysis in this region. The ribcage gives more support to the thoracic spine and vertebrae, reducing risk of stress fractures. When thoracic spondylolysis occurs, symptoms can include upper back pain that may increase with activity.
The majority of spondylolysis cases are in the lower lumbar spine. This is more common in athletes that put more stress on the lower back – bending backwards can add strain to the vertebrae. Low back pain is the most common symptom – lumbar spondylolysis does not usually cause nerve or radiating pain.
Conservative treatment is usually effective for spondylolysis. Rest, braces, physical therapy and interventional pain treatments can allow the vertebrae to heal and relieve any pain. Only severe cases of spondylolysis require surgery to repair the stress fracture.
If you have pain in your cervical, thoracic or lumbar region, come see us at DOCS Health. We can diagnose your spine condition and offer effective spondylolysis treatment if that is the cause of your pain. Contact our medical center in Beverly Hills to schedule your appointment.