II. Epidemiology

  1. Uncommon cause of back pain in general population
  2. Common cause of back pain in athletes
    1. Gymnastics, ballet or dance
    2. Football (e.g. blocking)
    3. Volleyball (e.g. serving the ball)
    4. Soccer
    5. Weightlifting

III. Pathophysiology

  1. Repetitive back hyperextension
  2. Causes Fracture at pars interarticularis resulting in Pars Interarticularis Defect
  3. Most commonly occurs at L4 or L5

IV. Symptoms

  1. Back pain exacerbated by Lumbar Spine hyperextension

V. Signs

  1. Hyperlordotic curvature of the Lumbar Spine
  2. Decreased Lumbar Spine range of motion
  3. Hamstring tightness
  4. Stork Test
    1. Examiner stands behind patient for support
    2. Patient balances on one leg and hyperextends back
    3. Positive if pain at affected lumbar Vertebrae

VI. Imaging: XRay

  1. Indicated for back pain lasting >3 weeks
  2. Views: AP, lateral and oblique views
  3. Findings: Scotty Dog Sign on oblique view
    1. Identify landmarks corresponding to Scotty Dog
      1. Head of Scotty Dog: Superior articular process
      2. Neck of Scotty Dog: Pars interarticularis
      3. Front leg of Scotty Dog: Inferior articular process
      4. Body and back leg of Dog: Transverse process
    2. Findings consistent with Spondylolysis
      1. Collar on Scotty Dog neck: Fracture through pars
  4. Pitfalls
    1. Pars Fracture often not seen in early Spondylolysis

VII. Imaging: Advanced Imaging

  1. Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)
    1. Most sensitive for Spondylolysis
    2. Consider for nondiagnostic XRay
  2. CT L-S Spine (thin cut, reverse gantry CT)
    1. Highly specific for Spondylolysis
    2. Consider for positive SPECT scan
    3. Differentiates acute versus chronic Spondylolysis

VIII. Management

  1. Relative rest period with no sports activity
    1. Chronic Spondylolysis: Rest until no pain
    2. Acute Spondylolysis: Rest minimum of 3 months
  2. Adjunctive measures
    1. Bracing could be considered at 3 weeks of rest
    2. Consider repeat CT to survey acute injury for healing
  3. Rehabilitation program
    1. Spine stabilization (flexion, hamstring, core muscle)
    2. Low-impact aerobics
    3. Progress to sport-specific activity

IX. Management: Orthopedics or spine surgery referral indications

  1. Spondylolysis refractory to above management

X. Complications

Images: Related links to external sites (from Bing)

Related Studies

Ontology: Spondylolysis (C0038018)

Definition (MSH) Deficient development or degeneration of a portion of the VERTEBRA, usually in the pars interarticularis (the bone bridge between the superior and inferior facet joints of the LUMBAR VERTEBRAE) leading to SPONDYLOLISTHESIS.
Concepts Disease or Syndrome (T047)
MSH D013169
ICD10 M43.0 , M43.00, M43.09
SnomedCT 203688008, 240221008
English Spondylolyses, Spondylolysis, Spondylolysis [Disease/Finding], Spondylolysis, site unspecified, spondylolyses, spondylolysis, spondylolysis (diagnosis), Spondylolysis (disorder)
Japanese 脊椎分離, セキツイブンリ
Swedish Spondylolys
Czech spondylolýza, Spondylolýza
Finnish Spondylolyysi
Korean 척추분리증
Croatian Not Translated[Spondylolysis]
Polish Spondyloliza
Hungarian Spondylolysis
Norwegian Spondylolyse
Dutch Spondylolyse, spondylolyse, Spondylolysis
Spanish Espondilolisis, espondilólisis (trastorno), espondilólisis, Espondilólisis
French Spondylolyse
German Spondylolyse
Italian Spondilolisi
Portuguese Espondilólise