Explanation of condition
A pars defect is a condition affecting the Lumbar spine. It is essentially a stress fracture that affects an area of bone called the pars interarticularis. The pars interarticularis is a small segment of bone which joins the facet joints at the back of the spine. A pars defect means that the lower and upper portion of the vertebrae can become separated during repeated stress and strain. This can happen on one side or both sides of the spine. Sometimes a pars defect can be asymptomatic, however, it is the most common cause of lower back pain in adolescents
How to Diagnose
A diagnosis is made through an extensive medical history and thorough physical examination. It is then confirmed with imaging such as an x-ray or MRI.
Children may not have any symptoms at all. Teenagers may experience:
- low back pain that worsens with activity and improves with rest.
- muscle spasms or weakness
- numbness and tingling
Management with Physiotherapy
Physiotherapists can provide some great advice regarding posture control, rest, and strengthening exercises to aid long term rehabilitation and prevent reinjury. Physiotherapy can also speed up return to sport through manual therapies such as massage, acupuncture, and strengthening programs.