Spondylolysis is a defect in a bone of the vertebrae that makes up the spinal column, and forms when maturing bone fragments unite abnormally and weaken the spine. It tends to occur during rapid growth spurts and is one of the most common causes of low back pain in teenagers. Athletic children and adolescents participating in such sports as gymnastics, diving, weight lifting and football are particularly prone to the condition.


  • Low back pain that worsens with running, jumping or extension of the spine
  • Muscle spasms
  • Awkward gait and posture


  • Rest for up to two weeks from sports and other physical activities
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Ice packs
  • Physical therapy that includes core strengthening and posture training
  • Back bracing
  • Lumbosacral support, body casting and/or surgery (in rare cases)