A stress fracture, also known as Spondylolysis in medical circles, is the most common lower back injury in sport that is as a result of overextending the lower back. It mostly occurs on growing adolescents. It is also highly prevalent in cricket fast bowlers. The best way to ease the pain of a stress fracture is taking a rest.
How is a lower back stress fracture diagnosed?
The biggest problem with this injury is that it is not easily visible on X-ray until months later. By the time an X-ray image can show the fracture, it may be impossible to heal. The diagnosis can be done through an MRI, bone scan or CT scan.
The treatment of stress injuries is mostly based around activity modification. The first step of the healing process is interrupting the repetitive overload cycle. The period of rest ranges between 4 – 14 weeks.
During this period of relative inactivity, an evaluation is conducted for the factors that may have led to the stress fracture.
Muscle strengthening is an important part of the rehabilitation process. Strong muscles insulate the bones from forceful impact.
As the bone continues to heal, progressive exercises may commence. The exercises have to be supervised by a qualified physiotherapist. These exercises are geared towards increasing muscle activity around the lower back area.
How can these injuries be prevented?
For a start, sporting activities should be conducted on grass and not hard concrete. Grass minimises the forces being transmitted through the spine. A sports injury is best injury is best treated with sports therapy, from someone with the proper sports massage training.
The intensity, duration and frequency of practice sessions also need to be monitored. If you have to increase the intensity of training, it has to be gradual.
You need to constantly monitor your posture. Seats need to have a back support and staying slumped in front of the computer over a long period should be avoided.