Spondylolysis is a spinal condition that occurs when there is a defect or fracture in the pars interarticularis. This condition is most commonly seen in the lower back, or lumbar spine, and is a common cause of chronic low back pain in adolescents.
Symptoms of spondylolysis can include lower back pain that may radiate to the buttocks or legs, muscle spasms, and stiffness in the back. Pain may worsen with activity and improve with rest. Diagnosis of spondylolysis typically involves imaging tests, such as X-rays or MRI, and a physical exam. Treatment options include rest and avoidance of activities that aggravate the symptoms, physical therapy, pain management with medications, and in some cases, surgery.