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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 [especially the offensive line], diving, wrestling, 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 medicine, 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.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://www.aaos.org
Healthychildren.org - American Academy of Pediatrics http://www.healthychildren.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Bono CM. Low-back pain in athletes. Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery. 2004;86-A(2):382-396.
Eddy D, Congeni J, et al. A review of spine injuries and return to play. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine. 2005;15(6):453-458.
Herman MJ, Pizzutillo PD. Spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis in the child and adolescent: a new classification. Clinical Orthopaedics & Related Research. 2005;(434):46-54.
Low-risk stress fractures. American Journal of Sports Medicine January 2001.
Peer KS, Fascione JM. Spondylolysis: a review and treatment approach. Orthopaedic Nursing. 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):E66-70.
- Reviewer: Teresa Briedwell, DPT, OCS
- Review Date: 03/2013
- Update Date: 03/15/2013