Diagnosis: Spondylolysis


I left the orthopedic/sport medicine doctor’s office today with 4 prescriptions to various pain relievers and muscle relaxers, a script for Physical Therapy from “the best lumbar therapy spot in Tampa” (Back to Work), and an article on my diagnosis – Spondylolysis.

According to The Sports Medicine Patient Advisor

Spondylolysis is a condition where there is a break in one or both sides of the ring of a vertebra.  Spondylolysis most commonly occur at the fourth or fifth lumbar vertebra.  Spondylolysis results from repetitive extension of the back (bending backward).  This causes weakness in the rings of the lumbar vertebra, eventually leading to a break in the ring.  Less commonly, these conditions may result from an injury to the back.  Athletes most commonly troubled by spondylolysis are gymnasts, dancers, and football players. 

I can assure you that I’m no gymnast (hello, I’m 5’10) or a football player, but a little google search confirms that weight lifting is also a cause.  I’ve been suspecting this is the culprit. 

So how is it treated?
During periods of acute pain, I can take prescribed anti-inflammatory meds or other pain medications.  I can also ice the area.  Physical Therapy is recommended where they will work on back and abs muscles. 

Also, these exercises are recommended for rehabilitation.

PELVIC TILT: Lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, tighten your stomach muscles and push your lower back into the floor. Hold 5 seconds and relax. Repeat 10 times. Do 3 sets of 10.

DEAD BUG: Tighten your stomach muscles and press your lower back into the floor. Lift up one leg several inches off the floor, hold for 5 seconds, then lower it. Lift the other leg off the floor, hold for 5 seconds, then lower it. Alternate legs, doing 5 repetitions with each leg and then relaxing the pelvic tilt. Do 3 sets of 10.

PARTIAL CURL: Lie on your back on the floor or another firm surface. Clasp your hands behind your neck for support, keeping your elbows pointed out to the side. Look straight up at the ceiling and tighten your stomach muscles by doing a pelvic tilt. Lift your shoulders off the floor toward the ceiling. Make sure to keep your elbows pointed out to the side and don’t use your arms to lift your upper body off the floor. Hold for 3 seconds and then slowly lower your shoulders to the floor. Repeat 10 times. Do 3 sets of 10.

All-FOURS-TO-HEELS SIT: Kneel on the floor on all fours. Your palms should be flat on the floor in front of you and your back should be kept flat. Shift your weight backward and try to sit on your heels. Be sure to keep your back flat. Hold this position for 6 seconds. Return to the starting position. Do this 10 times.

PRONE HIP ROTATION: Lie on your stomach on the floor. Bend your knees so your thighs stay on the floor and your lower legs are perpendicular to the floor. Keep your knees on the floor and shoulder width apart. Cross your legs over each other as far as you can. Keeping your knees on the floor, uncross your lower legs and move them as far apart as possible. Hold for 2 seconds. Repeat 10 to 20 times. When you can do this exercise easily, add ankle weights

 The good news is…. I can still participate in sport activities as long as I don’t have pain, but I need to change it up and avoid anything that hyperextends my back. 

I’m not big on medications, so I don’t plan to fill the prescriptions right away  I did get some samples of a muscle relaxer which I will take here and there to take the edge off (or get  a good night’s sleep).  I’m hoping the PT will work wonders (and the yoga that I’m going to add into the mix). 

So there it is folks.  That is what this doc said/  O have spondylolysis.  Spon-di-losis.

Do you know anyone who has had spondylosis?  Have you ever had spondylosis?  Can I expect massages at PT?  Because I really LOVE massages.  Or are they really going to make me work?  😉

Be well,



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15 responses to “Diagnosis: Spondylolysis

  1. I don’t have spondylolysis, but I’ve been doing the same exact PT routine for my own back problems! My lower back has bugged me for years & I’ve been told it’s resulting from arthritis in the joints and that’s causing me to overcompensate with other muscles and hold my lumbar spine totally still. so when I DO move it, it hurts like HELL! These exercises help me loosen up the muscles & get my spine moving again without any pain!

    Hope the routine works for you – and good thing you can continue on with all of your regular activities!

  2. Hope you are feeling back to 100% soon!

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  5. Kevin

    Did your doctor say the break would heal up? I was diagnosed with this last year and never got a clear answer on that. I was in a brace for four months and took a break from weight lifting but still have pain. Latest x-ray was unclear.

  6. Kevin

    Core stability work with no heavy loading or extension. I get intermittent pain most days.

  7. Kevin

    Hmmm…the pain is hard to pinpoint. It is in the area near the top rear edge of my hips but feels deep. Varies from an ache to sharp.

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