Spondylolysis - Stress Fracture in the Lower Back

The lower back is put under an awful lot of pressure when playing football, sometimes resulting in injury. Injuries to the lower back are more common amongst very young players.

What Causes Spondylolysis?

This is type of stress fracture that affects the lowest of the 5 lumbar vertebra (L5) at the bottom of the back where the spine is connected to the pelvis. The lumbar spine has to use our body weight to produce the large amount of force that helps us to move. Because the lower back is continually put under so much strain, the bones can become fatigued, which may lead to very small tears occurring in the L5. This type of back injury is mainly suffered by very young players whose bodies haven't fully developed yet. If you have a fractured L5 vertebra, the lower back will be painful, especially when bending backwards. The pain will get worse if you continue playing and will ease off when you rest.

Prevention of Spondylolysis

Having good posture and doing lots of Core Stability exercises will increase the spine's muscular stability and reduce the risk of injury. Trainers should ensure that the players have the right amount of rest between matches and training sessions so the spine has time to recover sufficiently and not become weakened from overuse. Playing on grass also helps to lower the risk of back injuries because the spine is subjected to less force than when playing on hard surfaces.

Treatment for Spondylolysis

In most cases, resting the back for 6 weeks will be sufficient for the injury to heal. Wearing a back brace may speed up the healing process and protect the back from further damage while it is in a delicate state. Low impact exercises that strengthen the back will also help to prevent the injury from reoccurring.

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