Submitted by linez on Sat, 11/16/2019 - 21:22
Been diagnosed with spondylolysis (stress fractures in the lumbar spine). I'm told in a lot of instances it is something you can recover from, but at the same time there are varying circumstances and very few of them relate to surfing. I normally surf up to 4 times a week, and haven't surfed now for 4 and I am starting to get genuinely worried. I'm just after anybody else's experience in dealing with this? I'd really appreciate the feedback guys..
Spondylolisthesis is a very common condition. Although can cause pain / dysfunction half the population of surfers could be potentially paddling around with this and have no symptoms.
When acute can be associated with a bit of a stress reaction to this segment of bone- this is common in fast bowlers, gymnasts, anyone who does repetitive extension based movements (paddling for surfing).
If there is a bit of a stress response then the main management for that is a good period of rest, can be up to 12 weeks.
So for you, all depends on what your symptoms are doing/ how long you’ve had them.
Rarely does this condition result in anything more than conservative management ( rest, physio, exercise etc).
Thanks for the reply Solitude, yeah it is definitely better with rest. I'd read up on some of the things you mentioned, and yeah looks like rest is the best course. I thought maybe someone might have had a positive result from something they employed to fix it, but like you mentioned, everyone has different symptoms/triggers etc. Might have to get me some patience...
Mate If you truely have an acute spondy / some kind of pars stress fracture on a scan you just need time out.
Massage, acupuncture, taping or any other kind of passive intervention may give you symptomatic relief but dont mistake that for a ‘fix’. Fine to do but won’t replace time out.
Mainly go easy on repetitive or excessive lumbar extension (arching backwards). That’s what gets people into this.
Things such a walking, cycling and even swimming (not butterfly) would all be a nice way to keep moving. Most stuff in a gym is ok too.
That is almost the number one thing. DONT be scared of your back. It will be fine, keep moving. You just may need to be patient as you say and give yourself the shitty spring / early summer time away from the thing you love to be ready and raring for those autumn / winter swells.
Thanks again mate, good info. Yep, scans done and confirmed pars fracture on L3, but hey, at least there's light at the end of the tunnel
Have a look into DNS (developmental neuromuscular stabilisation) & Foundation Training. Best two things I've ever done for my back & surfing.
I was diagnosed 4 months ago with Stage 1 spondy + pars defect.
I was out of the water for 2 months just to rest although i did lots of walking then started exercising to build my core muscles as these need to take the load now instead of the spine. See below link from you tube. One of the physio guys has spondy himself.
I do these exercises every morning and I can now go to the gym and complete careful specific weight training and surf with little to no pain. In saying that i have yet to test the back in surf over 4 foot.
This injury will never heal, its all about managing it to stop it progressing further and i'm finding the more i build the core muscles the better the back is feeling and the better i'm surfing.
Thanks KDV, looks like something I could try further down the track, just not sure while it's healing.
Curl curl, yeah I've had a lot of down time to try to research rehab for the injury in conjunction with what my physio has said, and those guys have some good info as well. I've also started walking and just basic core strength exercises. I'm also finding that stretching hamstrings etc is helping as well.
Just for the record as well, I've not had any slippage, just the actual fractures on the pars.... the slippage is what I am paranoid about happening. Good to hear you were back in the water after 8 weeks or so, been 4 for me already so it gives me something to hang on to.
Thanks for the replies guys, I really do appreciate it.
I'll echo the strengthening your core comments. I have spondy also, took me a while to recover.
Have a look at exercises for SIJ instability, SIJ is the joint that takes basically all the torque of your hips. Strengthen your glutes and lightly stretch your hammies.
Thanks mate, yeah it seems the common thread in the replies is strengthening your core, something I have never really paid much attention to.. but I am now.