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18 yr old son with spondylolysis - what's next?

Started by jbann77 on 03/02/2020 11:16am

Hi - my 18 year old son has been battling back issues for three years. In February 2019, it hurt really bad after state wrestling so over the summer he was pretty inactive. He would say certain things his back would just hurt. But overall, he told me he it was doing well. In August of 2019, the first day of football practice, he was in extreme pain the team trainer sent him to the ER. The doctor finally ordered an Xray which showed nothing but two weeks later pain was not getting better so an MRI was ordered; which showed a pars defect on the left at L5 with a "suspected" right L5 pars defect with bulging disks at L5-S1, L4-L5 lateral recess narrowing and minor degenerative changes without stenosis. He was in a full brace for 10 weeks, did PT the whole 10 weeks and took OTC meds for inflammation and pain. In November was released, almost immediately the pain was back and radiating down his leg; so he went back in the brace and OTC meds for 4 more weeks.

In early January 2020, he was released to wrestle and his back pain came back full force and another Xray was ordered. This Xray indicated L5 spondylolysis with minimal spinal listhesis of L5 on S1 (We were told it's a Grade 1-2). Back in brace and he did a cortisone injection. The cortisone shot did nothing so in February he had two epidural spinal injections, while on Lidocaine patches (24 hours), Tylenol, Advil and muscle relaxers. Wrestling is done so he has been taking it easy, but still nothing seems to be taking his pain away, he says its manageable but never goes away, he is so frustrated with the daily pain and not knowing when it's going to hit him.

I'm wondering, do we explore surgery at this point? I don't want him to live with this constant back pain since he is so young and extremely active. Are we better to attempt to fix it now so he can enjoy life? I feel we have exhausted all the non-surgical routes. Thank you for any input you may have on this

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