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, 20 (8), 560-4

Nonoperative Treatment of Symptomatic Spondylolysis

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Nonoperative Treatment of Symptomatic Spondylolysis

Mark F Kurd et al. J Spinal Disord Tech.

Abstract

Summary of background data: Symptomatic spondylolysis resulting from a stress fracture of the pars interarticularis is a cause of low back pain in the juvenile and adolescent patient. Treatment is conservative in the majority of cases.

Objective: To analyze the outcome of patients with symptomatic isthmic spondylolysis treated nonoperatively with a custom fit thoracolumbar orthosis and activity cessation for 3 months followed by an organized physical therapy program.

Study design: Retrospective case series.

Patient sample: Four hundred thirty-six juvenile and adolescent patients with spondylolysis.

Outcome measures: Pain improvement, hamstring flexibility, range of motion, resolution of back spasms, and return to previous activities.

Methods: Retrospective review of 436 juvenile and adolescent patients with symptomatic spondylolysis confirmed by single-photon emission computed tomography or computed tomography. Clinical outcomes were assessed through patient history and physical examination.

Results: Ninety-five percent of patients achieved excellent results according to a modified Odom's Criteria. The remaining 5% of patients achieved good results as they required occasional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain. Back spasms were resolved and hamstring tightness and range of motion returned to normal in all patients. All patients returned to their preinjury activity level. No patients went on to surgery.

Conclusions: Symptomatic juvenile and adolescent patients with an isthmus spondylolysis may be effectively managed with a custom fit thoracolumbar orthosis brace and activity cessation for approximately 3 months followed by an organized physical therapy program.

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