Which clinical history findings are characteristic of a pars interarticularis injury?

Updated: Jan 22, 2019
  • Author: Gerard A Malanga, MD; Chief Editor: Craig C Young, MD  more...
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The clinical presentation and reported findings of the historical examination of patients with spondylolysis may include the following:

  • Although most patients with spondylolysis are asymptomatic, those who do develop symptoms typically present during the preadolescent growth spurt. [24]

  • Patients predominantly complain of focal LBP brought on by certain performance activities. Pain may be sharp and lancinating in the acute period or may become chronic, dull, and aching over time. The pain is usually of mild to moderate intensity. Pain may be located unilaterally or bilaterally, usually along the belt line. On occasion, the pain may radiate into the buttock or proximal lower extremity.

  • The onset of symptoms may be either insidious or acute. Often, mild symptoms may be present for a time period, but then the symptoms may become exacerbated by a specific incident.

  • Movements, particularly those involving spinal extension and, to a lesser extent, rotation, are typically described as exacerbating events. Pain is often improved with rest. One study showed up to 98% of adolescent patients with spondylolysis have pain with extension and rotation movements of the spine. [25]

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