Spondylolysis may develop because of sudden trauma, repetitive motion, or regular stress on the spine.
Spondylolysis or spondylolisthesis are conditions that can occur at any age, affecting nearly 4-6 percent of the American population. Spondylolisthesis occurs when a vertebrae in the lumbar region slips forward and shifts out of its original place. This can put pressure on the spinal cord and cause lower back pain.
Types of Spondylolisthesis
- Degenerative spondylolisthesis – Caused by general, age-related wear and tear. It occurs when the intervertebral discs becomes weak and are no longer able to hold the vertebrae in place, causing slippage.
- Spondylolytic spondylolisthesis – Caused by a fracture of the pars interarticularis. This causes the vertebrae to slip out of place.
While degenerative spondylolisthesis develops over time, spondylolytic spondylolisthesis occurs due to repetitive stress or motion or sudden trauma that causes fracture to the vertebra.
Occupations with High Risk of Spondylolisthesis
Any worker who has constant stress put on the lower back may be susceptible to spondylolisthesis. (Learn more about collecting work comp for back injuries.) The following types of workers are at high risk:
- construction workers
- warehouse workers
Symptoms of Spondylolisthesis
There are no clear symptoms of spondylolysis; however, a worker may experience the following:
- pain that worsens when bending backwards
- chronic pain and soreness of the lumbar region or middle lower back
- tingling sensations in the middle lower back
- slowed reflexes
- weakness or pain in the legs
Work-Related Spondylolysis and Treatment
If you have been experiencing lower back pain or any of the above mentioned symptoms, you should immediately consult a doctor. The doctor may order an X-ray of the lower back to check the position of the vertebra. An MRI or CT scan may be needed to find out if the slipped vertebra is pressing on the spinal cord or a nerve.
Treatment depends on the severity of the condition and whether or not the spinal cord or nerves are impacted. Treatment may involve restrictions from physical work that can aggravate the condition. Back braces or anti-inflammatory medications may be used to relieve pain. Physical therapy may help relieve pain and restore normal function. If none of these treatments work, the worker may have to undergo surgery.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Treatment for spondylolysis can be long and expensive and the worker may require a long time off work, especially if surgery is required. You may be entitled to workers’ comp benefits if the condition is work-related. If you are having difficulty getting your rightful benefits, consult a St. Louis work injury lawyer. Call The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300 for a free consultation.