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Lumbar Spondylosis/ Spondylolisthesis
If your young child or adolescent is experiencing back pain, several factors could be responsible. Two of such are spondylosis and spondylolisthesis. It’s important to see a physical therapist, so your child’s back and spine can be examined, and a custom treatment plan is created for him or her. If you’re wondering how physical therapy can help, we are just excited to discuss it with you. Request an appointment with a physical therapist today.
What is Lumbar Spondylosis/ Spondylolisthesis?
Spondylosis and spondylolisthesis are the major causes of low back pain in young athletes. Spondylosis occurs when there is a crack or stress fracture in one of the small bones (vertebrae) that makes up the spinal column. Children and adolescents who participate in sports activities (such as gymnastics and football) that place repeated stress on the lower back are more prone to this condition. Spondylolisthesis occurs when the stress fracture weakens the bones so much that the bones begin to shift or slip out of place. Spondylolisthesis is described as either low or high grade depending on how far the bone shifts. In high-grade slip, the vertebra slips more than 50% of its width on the vertebra behind it. High-grade slips are usually corrected surgically. Aside from high-grade slip of spondylolisthesis, spondylosis and low-grade spondylolisthesis can be treated without surgery.
What are the causes of Lumbar Spondylosis/ Spondylolisthesis?
Spondylosis and spondylolisthesis are more common in young people who participate in activities that cause them to overstretch the lower back. Over time, as the bone weakens, this can lead to the vertebra shifting or slipping out of position. Another cause could be genetics. Some people are born with thinner vertebrae that are prone to fractures.
In most cases, people with spondylosis and spondylolisthesis may not experience symptoms. They may not even know they have these conditions until an X-ray is taken. However, if symptoms do occur, it occurs mainly as pain in the lower back. This pain may:

Worsen during activity and improve with rest

Feel similar to a muscle strain

Travel down to the buttocks and back of the thighs

In spondylolisthesis patients, muscle spasms may lead to the following symptoms:

Tight hamstrings (the muscles in the back of the thigh)

Difficulty standing and walking

Back stiffness

Individuals with high-grade spondylolisthesis might experience tingling, weakness, or numbness, in one or both legs.
At polygon PT, a physical therapist will review your child’s medical history, and ask questions about the sports your child participates in. The therapist will examine the spine of your child, checking out for:
Your child’s walking posture will also be inspected to determine if a tight hamstring is causing him or her to walk awkwardly. Your therapist may require imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI scan (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), or Computerized Tomography (CT) scan to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment for Spondylosis/ Spondylolisthesis?
Physical therapy is effective for relieving the symptoms of spondylosis and spondylolisthesis. Your therpaist will create a treatment program for your child. The aim of the program is to relieve pain, heal the fracture and get your child back to their sport activity. Your therapist will prescribe that your child discontinues activities causing the pain. Braces can be worn to limit spine movement so the fracture can heal. Once the fracture heals, stretching and strengthening exercises will be needed to restore flexibility and strength to the muscles in the abdomen and back. During the course of the treatment, you will need to see your doctor from time to time to ensure the vertebra is healing and aligning properly. For high-grade spondylolisthesis that requires surgery, your therapist will help you prepare for the surgery. After surgery, a structured rehab program will be designed to ensure complete recovery. Your surgeon will discuss the details of the surgery with you. Complete recovery for spondylosis and spondylolisthesis will take a couple of months. This largely depends on the overall health of the individual, and the severity of the condition.
Get Started with Physical Therapy Today
The majority of the patients who used physical therapy treatment for spondylosis and spondylolisthesis are now free from pain. We want to help you achieve the same results too… Request an appointment with a physical therapist today.