Claudia's Bilaterally Fractured L5 Vertabrae

by Claudia Marin
(Los Angeles, California, USA)

me in my lame brace.

me in my lame brace.

I'm a fifteen year old soccer & track girl & I've been experiencing and dealing with back pain for over half my life.

I made my first complaint at seven years old, had an x-ray done, & my pain was simply dismissed with the lame excuse that i was just an extremely active seven year old girl with a very mild case of scoliosis that must have fallen and hurt herself. For about a month & a half I basically took it upon myself to limit what i did to prevent pain, i placed myself on an imaginary "disabled list" in the second grade. I stopped playing football/soccer/baseball/basketball with the boys at recess and lunch time & eventually my back felt better.
For the next six years my pain came and went. It would recur & switch sides, from left back pain to right back pain, but consistently remained mid to low back pain. I complained several times to my physicians & was dismissed each time with more lame or false diagnosis which gave me no true emotional or physical relief. Every time i left the doctors office i was simply told to rest for a couple of months, ice/heat the painful areas, do physical therapy, take anti-inflammatory meds and be patient.
When i was 13, i saw an orthopedic physician who ordered an MRI which revealed that i had spondylolysis (Degeneration or deficient development of a portion of the vertebra; commonly involves the pars interarticularis, which can result in a spondylolithesis). I never really let the pain stop me until it was so unbearable that i couldn't walk without feeling pain. from the time that i was 13-14 the pain was consistently present but flare-ups would only come every couple of months, and i would take a few weeks off & be back at it.
Then in October of 2008 i was volunteering at an elementary school autumn festival when all of a sudden i found myself unable to walk. i froze up. and suddenly a sharp excruciating pain shot down my left leg. It was the worst, most intolerable pain i had (and have) ever experienced. Unable to contain myself, the tears started to flow. I managed to limp to my moms booth to tell her about the pain, but unfortunately she couldn't leave, there was no one else to cover her spot. I had to walk about 60 yards to the car, alone. I've ran many long distances in my life, but these 60 yards felt like the longest distance i had ever had to live through. I got to the car and couldn't find any way to sit comfortably. I cried for two hours straight, the pain would not subside & my mother & brother would not return. Finally they did & my mom saw the full effect and toll that this pain had taken on me. She immediately phoned my physician who, without hesitation, prescribed tylenol with codeine. It did nothing but make a nauseous. Next on the list was vicodin, which didnt take the pain away but made it close to tolerable. Of course i was in bed all day for the entire week following the incident. I made an appointment to see an orthopedic spine specialist, but unfortunately for me, i wouldn't see him until November, a month from when the pain started. I then began a home instruction program through my high school in an attempt to keep me up to pace, but that was near inevitable.
Prior to my visit with the orthopedic spine specialist i had an MRI done. During my appointment the doctor pointed out that the MRI was of low quality and not all that clear and easy to read, but still concluded that there were no fractures in any of the vertebra. He did, however, point out that there was a disc herniation, & for that he prescribed steroids & a pain medication Ultram (an Opioid used to relieve ongoing, moderate pain, that can sometimes cause dependancy). These prescriptions had brought me closer to being "pain free" but the Ultram did have its side affects. I experienced random nausea, anxiety, sleeplessness, lightheadedness, & weakness. The doctor also suggested i receive an epidural-steroidal injection directly around the area of the herniation. The shot was quite painful, and the 4 days after the shot i felt worse than before it because the area was so tender from the penetration & the medications in the shot.
The pain finally decreased significantly, the leg pain was at a minimum & back pain was tolerable. As soon as i felt the pain worsening once again, i knew it was time for another shot, & i got it 4 weeks after the first (4 weeks is the minimum amount of time you can have between any two shots of this specific medication & dosage i was receiving). During all of this i was also seeing a pediatric rheumatologist because some blood work i had done had revealed something that suggested i might have arthritis. Two weeks later, it hurt again, my rheumatologist & orthopedic spine specialist concluded that i would probably benefit more from a Sacroiliac joint injection if i indeed had arthritis. The SI joint lies next to the spine and connects the sacrum (bottom of the spine) with the pelvis (hip), the doctor then inserts a needle into the sacroiliac joint to inject lidocaine (a numbing agent) and a steroid (an anti-inflammatory medication). The shot did help, didn't completely take the pain away, but it lead my rheumatologists to believe that i indeed had this arthritis condition, i was devastated.
The pain finally came back, to near full force, so i didnt have arthritis after all.
I felt as if i had been jerked around for about 7 months, still without a clearly definitive diagnosis & cure.I went to my primary doctor and told him how i felt that i have been going in circles, so he redirected me to an orthopedic spine specialist & surgeon. My primary physician also revealed to me that the other orthopedic doctor i had been seeing was more of a pain management doctor anyway.
I managed to get an appointment with this new orthopedic spine specialist/surgeon a month after i called to schedule it which was the soonest i'd be able to see him. Before going, i got a CT Scan done, to give the doctor clear and current insight into the problem. After meeting the doctor & briefly explaining to him what i have explained to you all so far, he got on the computer to view my CT scan. I was able to stand right over his shoulder viewing this with him, and had i known how to operate the program he was using i couldve drawn a good conclusion as to what was wrong with me. A BILATERAL FRACTURE IN MY L5 VERTEBRAE there were to two extremely apparent breaks in the bone. the technical terms he specifically used were "pars interarticularis defect" (also called spondylolysis, which is a fracture/break of the vertebral arch that holds together the superior and inferior articular processes). the leg pain comes from a pinched nerve as a result of the strain on the surrounding vertebrae & discs.
i was back at square one! if you recall, when i was 13 the first orthopedic doctor i had seen told me i had a mild case of spondylolysis & simply referred me to physical therapy & had me refrain from all sports, which helped, temporarily.
Now, my current orthopedic spine specialist/surgeon, told me sometimes these things heal on their own by resting. I was still in shock, i couldnt believe it was actually broken, even he couldnt believe i had been playing sports with this broken part of my spine being how it was.
He told me i would need to get a bone scan done to see if the fracture was in the process of healing itself. the results revealed that there might be a possibility of that happening, so he had me referred to another orthopedic that made body brace's & said i'd have to wear it 23 hours a day for 2 months. After doing some research on this brace thing i discovered that it'd be more of a cast, extremely noticeable, & uncomfortable. once again, i was devastated & reached a new low. I have also been told that my case of lordosis is not so mild anymore and the curvature of my spine is about 37 degrees, so the brace should help that too.
As im typing this i'm wearing this contraption. The brace extends from below chest to my waist-line, and down my left leg til right above my left knee. I have no range of motion in my waist, so i cant sit. All i do is lay in bed for 23 hours, taking off the brace and getting up only to use the restroom and bathe. I hardly leave my house, and i can surely say im depressed. this has been so hard on me, in total ive missed 3years and 2 months of sports due to injury.

Comments for Claudia's Bilaterally Fractured L5 Vertabrae

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Oct 15, 2015
by: Anonymous

I have to tell you that after reading your article my son and I can relate. ^ months ago my son went to a football camp and froze up unable to bend. needless to say he hasn't participated in any sports either. It is unfortunate we have seen two chiropractors, orthopedic, physical therapy, neurologist personal trainer and everyone said same thing build your CORE. This was also after three MRI's, multiple x-rays, and Ct scan. Wasn't until recent we went to se neurosurgeon who said he had bilateral pars defect of L4. Mild case but as well if he wears this diligently he too should be fused in three months or were looking at a spinal fusion. My son has played football since he's 5 he is now 16. He is a junior in high school with multiple scholarships. Taking football away from him is like taking a paintbrush from Picasso. So sad to be miss-diagnosed for so long, Unnecessary pain for such a long time. We wish you luck.......

Sep 08, 2015
Nice post NEW
by: Anonymous

Nice post you have an great thoughts that you have shared with peoples so they can learn from your experience and get information as well.

vinyl sticker printing

Sep 02, 2015
Avery NEW
by: Anonymous

Amaze! Just what exactly watch opener the following posting is to do. Significantly prized, saved as a favorite, I actually can’t bide time until extra!
Click Here

Mar 16, 2015
reply NEW
by: Sanra

I was so sad hearing your story. I could understand how much serious injury that you had. Don’t try to remember those days. There is no benefit thinking about those days. You just forget it. I am sure that you can definitely play football again and it will be happened soon. EHR Software

Feb 15, 2015
This happened to me! NEW
by: Jacob

So pretty much the exact same thing happened to me. I was in football one day and got my legs tangled up and pain immediately went up my leg and into my lower back. And for a month it only got worse but all the doctors could see was I dislocated my hip. Finally after 3 months (and after playing through football season with a broken back. Not knowingly) after 3 months I got an MRI and the doctors told me the same thing. After the pain continued we went to a specialist. Now 1 month after seeing him I have had surgery to repair and am doing much better. And I hope the same for you

Aug 27, 2014
Cheerleading Back injury! NEW
by: Bella

Hi! I really hope that you are still taking comments.
I'm Bella and I have been an active gymnast and cheerleader since I was six. Probably a month ago I was tumbling and I landed with my knees hyper extended. A few minutes later, my back felt awful. I felt like my spine had been compressed into a bundle of bones. The pain was bearable, so , stupid of me, I ran the pass again, and the same thing happened. So fast forward a day, I woke up sore and I couldn't bend over to touch my toes at practice, and I had trouble walking up and down the stairs. I didn't think anything of it because I didn't want to have to miss practices for a silly pain in my back. I took a week off from practice and all extensive activitys because of sleep away camp, but then the next week I was back at tumbling.. my spotter said that he felt like something was clicking in my back. This raised a red flag for me but it didn't cause me excruciating pain so I, again, waved it off.
Fast forward a week (the following tuesday), after tumbling I was complaining about my back again, and it hurt enough this time that my mom agreed to take me to my chiropractor. He said that my spine was twisted and one of my vertebrae was out of place (yikes)! He easily aligned me back up and sent me on my way. I was soooo sore after that because my body wasn't used to being that perfectly straight, but I iced and took ibuprofen. Thursday was practice again, we didn't have our full 2 hour tumbling class but we did tumble for like 10-15 minutes. Everything felt alright until I got home and I could not feel my right leg or my foot. It hurt to wiggle my toes and I could barely walk (the pain had been in my lower back, mostly on the right side). My mom was really shocked to suddenly hear of this pain that I was having so she insisted that we go to my pediatrician the next day. My doctor was worried that it was a pinched nerve but she didn't think it was 100% that because the numbness went away before I got to the doctors. She sent me to my orthopedic doctor and they did xrays (nothing showed up)! But they were mad that I had continued to tumble with my back not feeling normal. They said I either have a PARS Fracture or a Disc defect/rupture, but they can't tell unless they get an MRI. So of course my insurance doesn't cover those so we had to say no. I was ordered to take two weeks off of cheerleading and I am supposed to wear a brace (with a pully system) for most of the day and NOT while I sleep. It has been feeling better with rest but I am still in pain and I feel grinding in my lower back. I really don't want to quit cheerleading but if this turns into a really big deal then I don't want to risk my well being. If anyone has suggestions please email me at

May 16, 2013
Update NEW
by: Claudia

Hi everyone!
Sorry I haven't gotten around to posting or replying to your comments. I hope you're all doing well. For those of you still struggling with all of the medical BS and emotional hardship that comes along with this sort of injury STAY TOUGH! You WILL get through this!

I had my surgery 4 years ago, June 2008, and things are great now. Well, for the most part--I have a form of arthritis (anklysoing spondylitis) which does cause some pain and discomfort from time to time.
My surgery was definitely a success, but it took about 1-2 years for me to say that with confidence. Healing from spinal surgery is no joke. Take your physical therapy seriously y'all. I highly recommend aqua-therapy and swimming, they do wonders for your back.

I realize that some of you might have pressing questions or would like someone to vent/talk to so here's my email:
Don't hesitate to email me-- I know how much I would have liked to talk to someone who had already gone through the treatments, surgery, and post-op life. In your email please let me know that you're writing in regard to my sports-injury-info page.


May 09, 2013
Deja vu! NEW
by: Steph

Hi to everyone who's commented. I haven't yet had the confirmation of spondylolysis as i'm awaiting a CT scan at present but my symptoms fit it like a glove. Mine started approx 3 years ago after a car accident. What everyone's been writing just feels like complete deja vu to my story- i feel a little better knowing others are in the same situation. I feel so disheartened with the medical profession after going through the same as most of you... constant circles! I definitely think that the profession as a whole should be more aware of this condition because 3 years of constant pain/ appointments/ therapies/ medication still without a diagnosis is alot to take physically & on the emotional roller coaster that goes along with it. Good luck to the rest of you out there with this, much love x

May 09, 2013
Deja vu! NEW
by: Steph

Hi to everyone who's commented. I haven't yet had the confirmation of spondylolysis as i'm awaiting a CT scan at present but my symptoms fit it like a glove. Mine started approx 3 years ago after a car accident. What everyone's been writing just feels like complete deja vu to my story- i feel a little better knowing others are in the same situation. I feel so disheartened with the medical profession after going through the same as most of you... constant circles! I definitely think that the profession as a whole should be more aware of this condition because 3 years of constant pain/ appointments/ therapies/ medication still without a diagnosis is alot to take physically & on the emotional roller coaster that goes along with it. Good luck to the rest of you out there with this, much love x

Apr 10, 2013
follow up NEW
by: Anonymous

Hi again Claudia. Well the initial disc surgery we went through wasn't successful... and now should be going in for another procedure... would like to talk to you some more as you offered if you could please email me like you said you could when we first talked. My email again is so did you have any sort of physio that you did that helped with prep for recovery at all? Also do you still have the brace that you wore, we had Sonera quetions about it as well.. thanks ever so much for your time.. hope to hear from you. - Jesse

Feb 16, 2013
Going through similar deal NEW
by: Richard

Hi Claudia -

Was in a car crash 2 years ago. At the time I was active and healthy. Over the months it progressed to a situation like yours, with crippling pain and doctors explaining it away.

Am working to get a CT scan ordered, but all symptoms point to spondylolysis, to me having bilateral fractures that are solely splinted with muscle and ligament. Often I cannot walk and can only crawl around the house in pain. I am trying to negotiate a TLIF surgery through a Denver hospital, since I cannot afford insurance (though crash happened on the job) and am now unemployed. It feels like hell and is only getting worse.

Touched by your resolve to gt through it, and like you am baffled how doctors under-appreciate the ramifications of having a broken back.

Nov 15, 2012
In response to claudia NEW
by: Francisco

Hey Claudia,
Thank you for responding to me as well as sending the good vibes. After I read that you got the spinal fusion, I saw another doctor in New York City and he recommended the same surgery. He felt it was the only way to heal the cracks and the herniated disc and ultimately get rid of the pain. But, I've been reading a lot of people's stories that recieved the surgery and I would say I've heard more negative than positive results. There just seems like there are many risks involved and I dont know what to do. I am currently with another chiropractor who sees the bone on my si joint and sacrum rubbing aganist each other, which he thinks is causing the pain. Its been six weeks with him and no relief so far. It almost seems that the surgery is the only thing at this point. I read that you are able to play sports now after your recovery. Would you say that overall you live pain free after you got the surgery? I really appreciate you taking the time to write to me. Thank you very much, Francisco.

Oct 15, 2012
In the same boat NEW
by: Carly from the 757

So sorry to hear what you're going through... :( Sounds awfully familiar to my case... I'm 19 years old, 2 years post L4 L5 S1 spinal fusion surgery with two rods and four screws. I was diagnosed with spondylolisthesis and spondylosis in three of my vertebrae. I was forced to wear that god awful back brace as well my freshman and sophomore year of high school (yes... awful.. I know :( ) . Ended up with more pain than ever even after all the physical therapy and the back brace, so my orthopedic surgeon did the surgery August 2010. Awful recovery, but I must say I felt wonderful for a good year after surgery. But now, I am back at square one. Excruciating sharp shooting pain again in my lower back and legs. Doc says the only option I have is more surgery. So lost and confused at this point, i'm only 20 years old and I can barely make it to college and work everyday... :( I definitely feel your pain. Stay strong though, and best wishes to you :)

Oct 12, 2012
In response to Francisco NEW
by: Claudia

I'm really sorry to hear that you are experiencing so much pain. I know how frustrating and difficult this must be for you. I had an L5 spinal fusion. My surgeon used artificial bone grafts and stainless steel rods and screws to repair the fractures in my spine.
I hope this information can be useful to you. Sending good vibes!

Oct 12, 2012
In response to Francisco NEW
by: Claudia

I'm really sorry to hear that you're still experiencing pain. I know how hard that is, from one athlete to another. I had an L-5 spinal fusion. My surgeon used artificial bone grafts and stainless steel rods & screws.
I hope that helps!

Sep 21, 2012
Same exact story! NEW
by: Francisco

Hey Claudia,
I'm Francisco from New Jersey. I've been in extremely bad pain for about eight months but I've had back pain for a good portion of my sports career but nothing as bad as now. I'm a tennis player who plays in college.Reading this story, I cant believe how similar my story is with yours. I've seen many doctors without being told whats really wrong. Physical therapy and chiropractic care has made things worse. I had x-rays, an MRI, and a CT Scan. It revealed I had bilateral spondyltic defects at L5-S1, which as you know are cracks in the spine. I also have arthritis in my spine, and bulging discs. I would like to know what type of surgery you had. If you read this message and respond, I really appreciate it. Thanks, Francisco

Jul 13, 2012
Claudia you are an amazing girl NEW
by: Anonymous

Claudia, you truly are an inspiration and to all of you out there looking for answers get as many opinions as you can get. I am going though this and I am 40 years old. I could, in now way, imagine having to see my son go through anything like this. Hang in all and my prayers will be with you and your children. Claudia, be proud!!!

Jun 23, 2012
To Tricia NEW
by: Claudia

Im really sorry to hear about your daughters injury, I can imagine how hard this is for you as well. That accident really set her back, how horrible. I would recommend to look at every possible option before considering surgery, because its such a drastic measure. My surgery went really well but the healing process is always difficult. Especially with athletes because we grow more impatient with everyday that passes and often return to practicing and playing much too early. But because she is young and resilient im confident that if she did have surgery she would recover just as well if not better than I did! Also my broken L5 pieces were by touching, so my injury was exactly the same.

Jun 23, 2012
Stressed mom NEW
by: Tricia

I am so thankful I found your page. My oldest daughter was diagnosed with this same thing 7 months ago. She iPad just completed her 8th grade volleyball season and went to the first night of basketball. She was unable to walk/ move by the end of the practice . We went to the ortho who just as you put her in a brace and a bone stimulator. He was optimistic of it healing because even though it was completely severed the bones were still touching. She was basically on bed rest for the 3 months in the brace. She started to feel better about 4 months later. Then we were at a red light and a girl hit us from behind at at least 45 mph. Needless to say pain was back. Had another ct and it showed the bones were no longer touching which means no healing! However, we went out of town to a new doctor and within a month or so she was feeling better and starting pt. she did 2 months of intense pt and was given the ok to start volleyball workouts this summer for her new high school. She went the first night and after an hour could not take the pain. It has been 2 weeks and the pain has gotten worse each day. We are going to the doctor in5 days and I beginning to think we should look toward the surgery ! Would you agree? Reading your story has really given me hope for my daughter! Thank you!

Jun 21, 2012
Update & Answering questions NEW
by: Claudia

I'd say it takes at least 6 months to heal... MINIMUM. But I'd reccomend 9 or a whole year.
I'm fully healed and only feel a little bit of soreness after really intense work outs. I can play sports again, but don't play competitively. I'm 19 now, so it's been about 3 and a half years since I wrote this story.
As for the brace, it didn't really help, I had to have surgery after all.
Sorry for not being more on top of this. I hadnt realized that people had read and inquired. : since you wrote to me several months ago I doubt you're in the same situation today. However, if you still need some advice or questions answered, let me know by posting a reply on here and I will gladly email you.

Jun 12, 2012
by: Anonymous

Do you healed after surgery ,do you vey back sports ,did the pain gone

Dec 05, 2011
How long?
by: Anonymous

Im 14 and i just got a MRI and they said i had to get another CT scan because the L5 looked deformed? I just got the CT scan two days ago and they said my L5 has a midline long will i be out?

Nov 06, 2011
same thing
by: bhollo

My daughter has a fractured L5 and she has been in pain for 6 months now. The sports med doc said she didn't have to wear the brace but she hasn't healed. Also, we got a soft brace and not the one pictures. It happened at high school weightlifing for volleyball. It has been devestating and we go back again this week. We will be seeking some other opinions this month. This is the worst injury ever!!!

Nov 05, 2011
about the brace
by: jeff

hey claudia, my girl just had a gymnastics fall, ending up with similar symptoms as what you had described...i was wondering if you found that brace helped...she was told she would need on elike it...unfortunately,out here there isnt much resource for such things, and where there are, they are quite i guess i wanted to hear what u though about yours and how helpful it was..... do u by any chance still have your brace?..would u be willing to donate it, any help would be appreciated, and of all the forums we visited, you really impressed us with your knowledge and familiarigy, so plz drop a line back at any help or info would be appreciated.

Oct 23, 2011
by: liz wood

Ok first of all im sorry for all your pain and the crap that you have been though. Secondly i am a physical therapy assistant student who has learned so many ways to treat this problem you would be amazed. My instructor is a fantastic PT and actually helped a 15 year old soccer player who had the same problem was told he would never be able to play again. She found issues with his calf muscle that prevented him from rotating properly, he is now back playing soccer. I would be willing to help you but i am in michigan. you need to find somebody who doesnt do standard PT, they need to do muscle energy techniques and counterstrains etc..

Jul 11, 2011
Claudia Hang in there
by: Anonymous

How are you recovering? Having a son with the same issue I know what the recovery is like. Did you heal properly?

Mar 27, 2011
hope you are better
by: joseph

i have unilateral sacralization of the l5 with fractures. very painful. pls contact me

Mar 04, 2011
L5 pars defect unilateral
by: Anonymous

Hi Claudia!
I am so glad to have found your website, it has been a blessing. I was in a car accident about a year ago and had a bone scan to rule out spondyolosis, it was negative. I was having severe back pain and pain radiating down my leg. I had a MRI about a month ago and it showed a L5 unilateral pars defect with minimal disk bulge at L4. The pain specialist thought it may have been there for a while maybe even since birth, however I have had several MRI's in the past and the bone scan which showed nothing. I'm thinking the L5 defect is recent. Today I had a medial nerve block to see if the pain is coming from the facet joints. I have a follow up appt in 2 weeks to see if there is any improvemnt in my pain. I'm thinking I would like to see an orthopedic surgeon and try the bracing, since I beleive it is a fresh fracture. The pain is unbearable and I want some other options given to me. I have always been active and was devestated when my PT said no running or sports that involve running, like soccer. Any advice you could give me would be great. Thank you

Feb 24, 2011
Cried when I read your posts
by: Amanda's mom

My daughter is going through the same thing. She was diagnosed with Spina Bifida Occulta with a pars defect in her L5. They also found that she had a Vitamin D deficiency. She was 13. She went through physical therapy, felt better. Then, about a month ago, severe pain, the same as when she was first diagnosed. She went for an MRI on Monday because the Xray showed that her vertebrae may have moved forward. We are going today 2/24/11 to find out the results. I refuse to let her get cortisone shots because I know of the side effects. They said that if it did move, they would discuss the options with me. Should I insist on a bone scan? What other test should I get? Has anyone heard of a new procedure called artificial disc replacement?

I thought she was the only one going through this. I have been feeling helpless. You should start a support group.

Feb 10, 2011
Soo difficult
by: Mark

Hello Claudia!
I just found your site and am so glad.

I think we have the exact same condition and at times it has seemed so hopeless.

I was asymptomatic all thru school and even played college football, then at 24 I fell playing basketball and life was never the same. Next day couldnt get up/move/bend..constant pain.sitting was like sitting on a hot spot or burning.. So I went and saw every Doctor I could..tons of pain meds etc..nothing to fix it.
Some offered fusion but couldnt gurantee pain free..and I said if your going to fuse my spine with nuts and bolts I would like some assurance of pain free..I'm now 39 and have no idea what to do..I have been seeing a chiropractor but that seems pointless.
I would really like to know more about your situation. Thanks.

Nov 29, 2010
Fractured L5
by: Carol

My son was just diagnosed with Spondylolysis and was told he fractured is L5. He is currently wearing a computerized brace that he was told to wear for up to 6 to 8 months, 24 hours a day and can only take it off for showering. Our doctor couldn't give us any hope and told us that my son could be disabled for his enitire life. The doctor said that there is a 50% chance of healing. This news devasted us. We are going today to see out pediatrician to get other referrals. My son is a 14 year old active kid who just loves to play sports all day long. He is just devasted with this news. He has no idea how he even broke his back. He doesn't remember having an injury. Just that his back starting hurting him all of a sudden every day and could barely move.

Oct 24, 2010
L5 Spondylolsis
by: Shannan

My son had the same thing and wore the same brace for 3 months after 6 months of being told he had pulled his back muscle.

Long story short, he has been out of his brace for 9 months now and hurt himself yesterday playing football and we believe he has fractured the same L5 again. We see the ortho doctor tomorrow for another bone scan.

Be careful!! I am not sure this ever fully heals once broken!!


Oct 19, 2010
by: Anonymous

I have the same thing. Found out today. And i was to get a cast around my torso and down my right thigh. I was playing volleyball, going to tumbling, and have cheer. And I had it for two weeks before the pain was unbearable. So I completely know where you are coming from and I'm sorry you had to wait 3 or 4 years to figure it out.

Sep 24, 2010
by: Claudia

im sorry to hear about your injury, it sucks that you had to quit soccer.
honestly, i advise that you let it heal. get it fixed now because nothing, no sport (not soccer or cheer), is worth you having pain your entire life.

Sep 22, 2010
Had the same exact problem
by: Brianna

I broke my L5 from playing soccer & cheering. It is still broken and gives me pain occasionally, i had to quit soccer, but i can still cheer. The doctor say when i get older this will effect me alot.

Mar 24, 2010
kaitlin & hockey player
by: Anonymous

In a short sum of words, you described exactly what i went through. I've never met a kid my age with the same problem as me. And every time i have an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon none of the other patients can believe that i hurt my back so badly. I know you will get through this, we both will. We just have to stay positive and pray and be thankful for what we have.

I'm SO glad to hear this! this bone stimulator sounds awesome. And the calcium, vitamin d, and fish oil are great, ive been taking them for about 10 months and they're great. It must be a relief to know that his bone is healing! The heating pad is also something i used to relieve the pain. Im happy for you and your son! This is definitely a step in the right direction, and dont sweat it, you'll see him out on the ice in no time!

Just remind him to be patient and not to get too discoraged. Everyone has a cross they have to carry, this is ours.

Mar 23, 2010
Hockey Player Update
by: Anonymous

Hi Claudia

I am glad to read that you are getting back into the soccer groove. It has been a very long journey for you and through this forum you have helped a lot of kids just like you. Some good has come out of this! My hockey player son is doing so much better. His CT scan 2 months ago showed his bilateral L5 Fracture was now a unilateral with uptake on the healing side. Slowly but surely getting better. He has continued to do NOTHING! We say his back is a fragile egg and be very careful with it. He still wears his brace only rarely and we went ahead and bought a bone stimulator on line. the doctor did not prescribe but it has been the difference maker. He has been using this for 10 days now and had his doctor's appt. yesterday. No pain and the doc now says he is ready for rehab! We are praising God! We have done everything possible in our power to fix this problem. Calcium supplements coupled with vitamin D and fish oil and symphytum which was given to us by a chiropractor. Bracing, time off and also putting a heating pad on nightly for an hour. But, the biggest difference has been with the bone stimulator. I will keep you updated. Thanks for helping all of us out!

Mar 23, 2010
Same here
by: kaitlin marshall

I have almost the exact same experience and diagnoses as you do. I was 12 years old when I broke my back but was sure it was simply a muscle problem and played through it for 3 years until i went to see an orthapedic doctor who told me I had spondylosthesis and spondylisis and a sway back which then caused my L5 vertebrae to slip forward (i broke my same vertabrae twice in different places, i don't know how:/. I was a very active soccer player and can totally relate to what you are going through. i had to wear a brace just like that one to. The worst part is knowing that I may not be able to play soccer again. Pray to God, and stay strong, we can get through this together:)

Jan 24, 2010
by: Claudia

There are different types of braces, mine had a part that kept my left leg from bending, because i was having sciatica nerve pain.
For me, the CT scan was done 3 months before my surgery. but the week before my surgery my doctor requested that i get a bone scan done.
I'd suggest not to order either unless your doctor says he needs it.

This all happened my sophomore year of high school, the pain was so intolerable that i couldnt go up or down stair in school and was in so much pain that i couldnt focus during class. Luckily for me my school offered a home studies program for kids who were suffering from diseases or injuries preventing them from going to school. Talk to your daughter's high school counselor and see if her school offers a similar program.

Jan 24, 2010
CT scan and brace
by: Debbie

Annonymous: We have a CT scan so you don't think a bone scan is necessary? The CT scan and MRI were done 5 months ago and I keep thinking we should do another one but the doctor's don't think it is necessary. How long has your son had the brace on and how do you know he is healing? Just curious? You said he only has to wear it 8 to 9 hours a he able to sit? Claudia said she couldn't even sit....I'm not sure how my daughter would be able to finish high school with that type of brace, she is a senior.

Jan 23, 2010
I think a CT scan tells you more
by: Anonymous

My son is the hockey player mentioned earlier with Claudia. He had a bone scan 1st and has now had a CT scan and the CT scan was way more informative. I would suggest saving your money on the bone scan until later,if even needed, and go right to the CT. It can tell you how old the injury is, how big the fracture is and if healing is already taking place. The bone scan only told us that yes, he did have an injury. At this point, I am sure, you want to know more than that as I did and I am SO glad that now I have had the CT done and know the answers to my questions. BTW, Claudia, he is doing very well and his bone is healing.

Jan 23, 2010
by: Debbie

Thank you for getting back with me. I will definitely see about getting her a bone scan to see if we can determine the healing process. I am also going to continue my research. She so desperately wants to play volleyball again that she really wants to try the shots and she if she can endure the pain in order to play. Not sure what we will do but will keep you posted.

Jan 23, 2010
by: Claudia

Thank you katie!

As tough as it has been, I truly am on the path to healing!

My body feels better than its felt in years, which is a sad thing to say at sixteen, but i honestly feel that having gone through this has made me a stronger and better individual.

I hope all goes well with you and your fracture,

take care & good luck!


Jan 23, 2010
by: Claudia

I'm sorry to hear about your daughter, I know just how tough it is.

I received 3 cortisone shots, they were really quite painful. The area was tender for a few days, and didnt actually relieve my pain for very long. I would suggest not to get them, they hurt and wont actually cure your daughter, they'll only temporarily alleviate her pain.

When I had my bone scan done, it indicated that my fracture was old, so there was only a slight chance that the brace would heal it. I still wore the brace, 23 hours a day for 3 months. It didnt help me at all, but I would recommend anybody and everybody to give it a shot before they consider surgery.

The surgery itself was tough, i was in the hospital for 4, almost 5 days, it was the most pain i had ever been in. I was in bed for around 2 weeks, occasionally getting up only to walk around as the surgeon had said i do. I was able to ben over slightly within 2 months, fully by 3 and a half, comfortably by 4 or 5. It'll be 7 months in two days and I have already started jogging and kicking the soccer ball around a little, and Im hopeful that I'll be playing by mid-March. As much as a struggle as it was, I'm glad I did, I still wake up stiff sometimes, but the pain is no where near how it used to be before surgery.

Good luck to you and your daughter.

Jan 23, 2010
My daughter
by: Debbie

Hey Claudia:

I just found your website while I was doing some research for my 17 year old daughter. She is a volleyball player who has a scholarship to play vball in college. She was diagnosised 5 months ago with the same thing you have, it happend in August 09 and hasn't played since hoping it would heal. It hasn't gotten any better so we saw another doctor yesterday who told us that our only options were back brace, cordisone shots or surgery. I am trying to get more information so we can decide what route to take if she wants to continue to play volleyball. My question for is, how difficult was your surgery and recovery? How long did it take to recover and did you have to wear a brace after surgery?

Jan 23, 2010
Stage 1
by: Katie

Hi Claudia,
I feel for you and you will make it through this hard time (this is what I keep telling myself as well!). I am 27 years old and finally saw an orthopedic doctor to address the back pain I've had for the past 5 years. I found out that I also have the same condition which probably occured when I did gymnastics for 10 years as a youth. I am getting a second opinion and will see what options I have. I am like most, very fearful for what this means for my future health and how to live a normal life without worrying about causing further damage. I know from what I read so far though is during this difficult time, it is most important to begin to beleive that you are on the path to healing. The mind and body have a strong connection so stay strong and beleive that there will be a happy ending to all of this. I wish you the best of luck.

Dec 31, 2009
No problem
by: Anonymous

Absolutely, I'm just glad I've been of some help to you all.
Definitely keep me updated, I'd really like to hear about how your son makes a full recovery.
Your son will be in my prayers as well.

God bless.

Dec 31, 2009
by: Anonymous

Claudia, thanks so much for your interest with my son. I am so happy that you have had this operation and will hopefully be able to get on with life!
We go to a different doctor on the 18th to see what prognosis he will give and I will keep you updated. Again, it is so comforting to be able to talk to someone who has gone through this - it was a very devastating day. I will pray that both of us will have a miraculous 2010.

Dec 30, 2009
by: Claudia

Im glad to hear he's not in pain.
I was in a lot of pain before my surgery, I wasn't very mobile. I had pain radiating down my leg and such.

Hopefully the brace helps his fracture heal completely.
It sounds to me like this was a recent fracture, so that definitely factors into weather or not the brace helps the fracture heal.

My fractures were at least 5 years old, according to a bone scan, so the chances of the brace healing my fractures were slim. I was in the brace 23 hours/day, and it didn't heal, but it did help with my scoliosis.

Best wishes to your son & your family, I really do hope the brace heals him, no kid deserves to go through this kind of injury, or any injury for that matter.

Dec 30, 2009
by: Anonymous

He has exactly what you have a bilateral fracture of the L5 vertebra. He is supposed to wear the brace about 8/9 hours a day for better mobilization. He really has no pain. Were you in a lot of pain before the surgery? He also has no pain or tingling in his legs or bottom, just normal there.

Dec 27, 2009
by: Claudia

Wow, he must have been an amazing athlete. I'm really sorry you all have to go through this. It was really hard on me & my family, so I know how tough it can be.

They called mine a fusion, but my surgeon didn't actually fuse anything. He used two metal clamps & artificial bone grafts to connect the broken tranverse proceses to the rest of the vertebra.

Have his doctors said anything about how the brace is supposed to help him? What's his exact diagnosis?

Dec 27, 2009
by: Anonymous

Thanks so much for getting back. This is very hard for us right now. He got drafted in the WHL hockey league and is pretty concerned. He is in a boston brace and doing nothing athletically at all. I will keep you updated. What type of surgery did you have?

Dec 26, 2009
by: Claudia Marin

yeah im a lot better actually,
i had surgery in six months ago exactly and things have actually gotten a lot better
i'll finally be able to start working out soon,
and hopefully start playing soccer.
as for your son, im really sorry.
truly, i know how he feels. i got really down on myself for a long time but it all comes down to patience and perseverance. he'll get through it, good luck.

Dec 14, 2009
Is there hope?
by: Anonymous

did you ever get better? my son just got diagnosed with this and plays hockey. He injured it playing soccer. He is in a brace for 3/4 months. I just want to know is there hope that he will play again. HOckey is his life.

Oct 06, 2009
Same story...
by: Alan

I went through nearly the identical experience. Unfortunately I still have many symptoms.

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Sports Injury Stories.