Lumbar Spine Injuries

  • Merrilee Zetaruk
Part of the Contemporary Pediatric and Adolescent Sports Medicine book series (PASM)


Low back pain affects many young athletes, with certain sports posing a particularly high risk. Although low back pain occurs across the age spectrum, the etiology in young athletes differs greatly from that in adults. This difference may be attributed to anatomic factors such as the presence of growth cartilage in the vertebrae or age-related changes in the discs. Many factors including intensity of training and type of physical activity help determine the patterns of injury seen in young athletes. Younger athletes with low back pain are more likely to have associated structural pathology, so “lumbar strain” should only be considered as a diagnosis of exclusion. Symptoms such as fever, weight loss, morning stiffness, and night pain may be associated with more serious pathology. Finally, there are many diagnostic imaging modalities available for the investigation of low back pain. When more advanced imaging modalities are required, every effort should be made to limit exposure to radiation in young athletes. Investigations with little or no ionizing radiation such as MRI are preferable.


Low back pain Spondylolysis Lumbar (atypical) Scheuermann’s Schmorl’s node Disc herniation Posterior element overuse syndrome Facet joints Digital tomosynthesis Thoracolumbosacral orthosis (TLSO) Slipped vertebral apophysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Merrilee Zetaruk
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Pediatric Sport and Exercise MedicineWinnipeg Children’s HospitalWinnipegCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics and Child HealthUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

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