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- Congenital defect in the spine (usually appears a few years after birth)
- Acute trauma to the back
- Degenerative conditions of the spine
- Playing sports, such as gymnastics, football, diving, wrestling, or weightlifting
- Improper athletic or exercise technique
- Adolescent growth spurt
- Chronic overextension (bending backwards) with or without side bending of the back (common in certain sports and activities)
- Hamstring tightness or muscle imbalance
- Cerebral palsy (less common)
- Pain across the lower back
- Spasms in the back and hamstring muscles
- Pain radiating down the leg
- Exercises to strengthen the back and abdominal muscles—these muscles stabilize the spine
- Proper exercise and sports techniques to help prevent overuse and further injury
- Hamstring stretches
- Injury to the nerve
- High-grade spondylolisthesis (more than 50% slippage)
- No relief from medications, rest, activity modification, and physical therapy
- Limit how much you participate in certain sports. This will help prevent overuse injury.
- Keep the abdominal and back muscles strong. Keep the hamstring muscles supple.
- Use proper equipment for your sport.
- Warm up properly before exercising or playing sports.
- Learn proper techniques for exercise and athletic activities.
- Seek medical care for chronic back pain. Early vertebral stress fractures, particularly in teens and young adults, may heal with rest.
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics http://www.healthychildren.org
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://www.orthoinfo.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org
Boden BP, Osbahr DC, et al. Low-risk stress fractures. Am J Sports Med. 2001;29(1):100-111.
Bono CM. Low-back pain in athletes. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2004;86-A(2):382-396.
Eddy D, Congeni J, et al. A review of spine injuries and return to play. Clin J Sport Med. 2005;15(6):453-458.
Herman MJ, Pizzutillo PD. Spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis in the child and adolescent: A new classification. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2005;(434):46-54.
Peer KS, Fascione JM. Spondylolysis: a review and treatment approach. Orthop Nurs. 2007;26(2):104-111.
Sakai T, Yamada H, et al. Lumbar spinal disorders in patients with athetoid cerebral palsy: a clinical and biomechanical study. Spine. 2006;31(3):E66-E70.
- Reviewer: Teresa Briedwell, DPT, OCS
- Review Date: 12/2014 -
- Update Date: 03/15/2013 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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