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How do you treat a stress fracture in lower back?

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hey guys ill give you a quick summary of my back situation before you try to answer my question. I am a 16 year old growing boy and I play basketball and baseball. On January 2, 2008 I had a basketball practice where our coach made us run many sprints to get us ready for our next game. We probably ran around 25 or so and after that practice I noticed that my back was bothering me. I didn't think much of it because I had had lower back pain before, so I kept on doing what I normally did with no hesitation. The pain started to get worse and worse as I had muscle spasms and things of that nature. We started to treat it for muscle but that did no good. I got X-Rays and they were inconclusive. I had to stop playing basketball for the remainder of the season so that I could get ready for baseball season to start. Baseball is the sport that I excel in, so therefore it was more important for me to rest. Baseball season was going fine while I still had back pain. The pain got worse and worse, and so bad that one game when I was taking infield, my back completely shut down on me and my season was over. The next day I got an MRI and it confirmed that I had a stress fracture on the left side of my L4 vertebrae on the pars. We treated it with a brace and rest and I had no activity for 3 to 4 months. After the rest and the back brace, I began to get back into some activity that was baseball-centered. I did a fall program in which i trained 3 or 4 days a week while doing minimal conditioning exercises. I experienced stiffness from time to time, but I never experienced pain like it was before. 2 days a week, however, I did a strength and conditioning program in which we ran sprints, did power lifting, and core work. Everything was getting better until I started to increase the number of my sprints and the pace at which I ran them. I started to notice pain again in the same places in my back which were muscular trigger points on the left and right side. As time went on, I did the same things that I always did, and finally one day when I went outside to long-toss it shut down on me again. This instance was weird because it had never bothered me before when I threw, so naturally it scared me. Since then I tried ART and sports massage and sports massage helped the most but it did not help for anything but my flexibility and strength. The pain was the same. A couple of weeks later I did a CT Scan that revealed that I had another fracture on the right side of my L4 vertebrae . The fracture was not new according to the doctor, so that means that the first time I had an MRI, they did not see the fracture because the swelling was so bad. About 3 weeks ago in the middle of December, I got a bone scan that told me that my fractures were not healing and they probably never would.

Obviously I do not know what this means for me in the future because I have not even been to a rehabilitation center yet, but I'm scared out of my mind. It has always been my dream to play college baseball, and I don't know how im going to respond from something like this. I know that no one wants to sit here and listen to me complain about my problems, but I am earnestly asking you, if you have any answers, please tell me. If you have any advice whatsoever or if you have had an experience like mine, ANYTHING is fine. And I know that no one who is going to comment about this is a medical doctor, but really, leave me something if you have something.

I suggest that you go to a doctor or a back doctor or a rehab place they can help you better. Or if you don't want to do that then you can try to not use your back. And try not to do it very much. Or go and try to take it easy and not try to do things to stressful because that could make it hurt more.
Stress fractures in the lower back are due to a combination of things which include genetics, repetitive use, lack of flexibility in hip flexor area, lack of core strength and/or overloading on compression type weight training such as squats. Growth plate issues also factor in during the teen years. A local doctor told us that the majority of stress fractures in the "L" vertebrae do not heal bone to bone. Instead they heal with cartilage tissue which often does not show clearly on xrays or even CT scans. Be sure to see a good spinal physical therapist who understands the sport specific motions of baseball. Too many "strength and conditioning" trainers are generalists or use a cookie cutter football type approach to training for all sports. Many sports med people do not understand the stress fracture injury either despite the fact that it is becoming more and more common. Tight hamstrings and hip flexors often overstress the back and can contribute or make someone more susceptible to this type of injury. So you need to be sure to get consultation related especially to core strength in key muscles in the abdomen and back---NOT CRUNCHES and NOT SQUATS. There are many ways to strengthen quads, lower back etc besides squats. In my opinion they are way overrated, overused and can cause compression injuries related to stress fractures.

I am also dealing with a stress fracture in my back as well, not as severe as yours, but if you are going to do like a rehabilitation/physical therapy type thing, there is nothing to be afraid of. They are going to be friendly and willing to help you so that you can get better.
This winter I felt minor back pain while running. Thinking that it was nothing serious, I continued training for baseball and weightlifting. I started the season with back pain. However, I still performed well, and had one of the best starts to a season in my life. But then, one weekend it gave out on me and I could do nothing. I also got an mri and I have two stress fractures. I did the brace too, then physical therapy. I felt good at the end of my pt, and confident that I can try out this winter. When I started swinging again though, I felt the pain again. I am now waiting for a call back from the doctor, I am thinking surgery is the only way to heal it if you have tried everything else. That is what I am considering.

I have the same problem, a stress fracture to my lower lumber S1/S5 (i think that is it). I got it from Rugby Union, but it hampered my ability to play water polo (which is my preferred sport.)
I suggest doing some serious core work and stretching, my back doesn't bother me as much when I've been doing a significant amount of core excercises. I also see a sports physiologist which has helped alot as well. Not just with my back but also with training in general.
Its a balance between training through the pain and not exacerbating to the point where it shuts down. Also i know this may sound weird, but orthodics may help alleviate alot of the muscle tension (this is obviously dependant on your situation, but i put alot of pressure on the outside of my feet and my knee, hip and lower back are affected by it - orthodics fixed this)

Good luck, its a Sh!#$y injury to have. I literally feel your pain.

I am 16 years old as well and I have the same problem as you. I have a stress fracture in the lower back. I play sports like you so i know what you are going through. The best thing i can tell you is avoid all activity.. Seriously i been battling this whole stress fracture thing for like 2 years. The first year the doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong so i was pulled from all sports. So when i had no pain anymore, i started playin sports again and soon enough i was in the emergency room because the spasms were so bad i couldn't walk. I have the brace on my back now still feeling pain from weeks ago. No weight training till you have no more pain. Then LIGHT training. You may look like a idoit in the weight room but who cares you don't want your back to be messed up for the rest of your life. Something starts to hurt stop whatever your doing. Please listen to me, about the very light training. I thought i was perfecting fine yesterday and now i messed my back up again.. Always keep your back straight. No deadlifts, squats. sit ups, or crunchs. And it doesnt matter how strong you are and how much you can lift. You do 20% of what you could do before you had the stress fracture. I say this bec your back balances everything you lift. When you curl dumbbells, you will fill it in your back. So everything you lift puts stress on your back. So go light and work your way up.. Don't make the same mistake a did bro. It will take a long time before you will fully heal. But don't risk anything. When you do something to your back, their is a permanent side effect. It won't be the same. Forget all your sports for like a year. No running for a while either. Drink your milk... And if you feel good and fine, don't jump into a sport. Give it alot more time and workin hard at rehab. Good luck..

hey man, im 13 years old and my stress fractures in my back have turned into a fracutre. I got MRI scans and CT scans and i got a fracture on my right L5 and a stress fracture on my left. I am just starting to get into treatment. There are 3 stages of the back fractures from the stress, first stage is when you go to doctor early and it hasn't turned it a fraxture and you have 80% of healing it. I am at a progressive stage of back pain where its turned into a fracture and i have 40% of healing. Then theres a whole brake which has 0% of healing and you will have back pain for the rest of your life. There is also a chance that the bottom part of my spine is going to fully fall forwards. Umm my doctor has suggested not to do anything for 6 weeks but he said it will take about 1 year to fully heal, which ruled me out from any sport for a while. Good luck on getting your back fixed just get another CT scan maybe and see if you have really bad damage and see the chiropractor or a doctor and get some info off the. good luck mate.

hey I'm a 15 year old dancer. i didnt really read everyone elses answers, but heres what i can tell you. so i had a stress fracture too (mine was L5 though) and i had almost the exact same problem (let it go, finally went to the doctor, didnt find it in x-ray, had an mri, found it there and was out for 3-4 months) so i had to miss my dance competitions but when things healed, things were pretty good. it would get sore a lot but i mean whatever. then within the last month, i had really bad pain again. I'm so freaking scared cuz i know the docs gonna tell me to stop for a little so i don't wanna go. but i was online looking up some stuff and there are surgery options for stress fractures like these. where the crack is they can put in a screw and/or fuse the bones together. this is kind of last resort (its your back so that's kind of dangerous) so i would recomend going to a physical therapist. they really annoy you, but they help a lot (as long as you keep doing your exercises...oops...). i hope you get better!!!

HI I'm a parent of a football player he was 14 when was injured lifting weights right before his last game of the season. He played that night and I made him sign up to play basketball when I went to see his first game I felt horrible!!! I could see the pain he was in.... I finally made a an appointment with our general doctor and had an xray done found nothing then had an MRI and found a slight fracture on L4. So he stopped playing everything this was very difficult for me but knew it would be the best thing for him and future. He start physical therapy and was not getting better. Finally, after 4 months he started feeling better. He started back weight lifting but no squats and started feeling the same pain! We then went to Children's Hospital and saw a orthopedic surgeon after 6 months of his injury. He started using a brace and therapy again still felt pain and still no sports. We (parents) decided he was going to miss his sophomore football season. So it's been a year 1 xray, 3 MRI's, we (parents) decided to go to the snow with friends. He tried snow boarding big mistake!!!! He ends up in the hospital feeling worst then the first time. Had a CTScan and the finding are L4 right and left pars and fractured. When is this going to end... I have never seen my son so fustrated that tears were rolling down his cheek he is very scared he will never be the same. We took the CTScan to his doctors at Childrens Hospital and gave us some options; a better brace and therapy or surgery he would put 2 crews in pars and wear a brace for 3 months and feels he would feel 100% better of course this doesn't mean it couldn't happen again. The doctor also told us this is very common that many football, basketball players and bellarinas experience this kind of injuries many are professionals and continue there profession. We all have decided to go see another doctor at St. John's Medical Center, Spine Institute in LA. If that doctor confirms what our doctor told us we will be going forward with surgery. We are thinking very positive and with God's help the surgery will be success and he will be able to move on forward with no or very little pain in his life......

I actually suffered excrutiating pain in my lower left back, while playing cricket. I had a problem pre season with it but I sorted that out by doing core exercises. I done LOADS of side planks. 3 sets of 10, 30 seconds each side, 3 times a day. It was very boring but quite productive. After that, I played half the season and my back pulled up again and this time it was worse. I had told my coach that it hurt, but he said I could play through the pain. So I did and it got so bad, I had to basically crawl to my grandad's car after the game. I was out for the rest of the season. So what I did was rest it till the end of season. By that time, it was starting to heal. So pre season there was no pain. But i did do lots of side planks in the winter. The season has just started, and the pain in my back has come back again. My coach is being a prick about it, so I need to get it sorted out. My career is at stake here :/

Hey guys, i have just gone through a stress fracture in my back and its been 6 weeks with about 2 weeks of buildup work taking place..i live in the us and i play soccer for my local Chicago team. the problem is i get no pain while i train, but after it gets very sore and a bit painful...any help? Hi,Im 13 years old and i have a stress fracture in my lower back. there is no pin point area of the stres fracture but it is possibly in my L5 vertabrae. I have missed 6 weeks plus because of it. it has taken so long because i have aggrevated it too soon and i have had to be pushed back a couple of weeks. it doesnt help when your mates force you into doing something like skateboarding but you have to beat the temptation and think how pain free youll be. i noticed pain whil doing athletics, Aussie rules, bodyboarding and skate boarding. all requiring me to arch my back in a way of another. i am going in for a bone scan soon and i have already had multiple appointments with a chiropractor and he also studies physio. at the moment my pain has been minimal and in a couple of days i am going to start rebuilding it. i will do some core excercises at first and than i will see a sports doctor to see what other strengthening excercises i can do. my story is related to all of yours so i know we are on the same page about this. i hope you all get better and get back into it soon enough. cya.
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