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Ali'sMom

Proud Parent
Feb 20, 2014
3,116
In a nutshell, DD has the beginning of a stress fracture in her back (spondylylosis - I think is the exact term?).
Not an actual fracture.

Prognosis is to rest the back for a month, and come back. This dr. doesn't immediately/automatically brace a girl.

The "rest" is where I need guidance. I tried hard to get him to be specific, but he wasn't/wouldn't. He said for someone like him, to rest means do nothing, but for someone who trains 17-20 hours a week, it's very different. I said "Obviously no BWOs, which we're fine with". (I believe this has been aggravated from the past month working repetitive BWOs on low beam while she tries to get it back to high beam. Apparently when she couldn't move up the beam, she would just do 15-20 on low beam to prove she could do it.)

I asked specifically about an exhibition floor dance the optionals are doing on Saturday at a rec thing. He asked her "Does it hurt your back when you do the floor routines and skills?" She said "No." He said "Then I think it would be okay". (I was trying to gauge how much he meant by "rest").

I don't know that our HCs have dealt with any back issues before. I don't want them making her sit everything out if she can do some stuff, and I definitely don't want them pushing her, thinking we're over-reacting) A cast on an arm or leg is much easier to navigate. So before I email/talk with them, I want to know what I'm talking about as far as modifying.
(Do not get me wrong, I am not trying to push her at the risk of her back. But I don't want her out completely if it's not necessary - I honestly don't think she'd go back. Trying to find that happy medium).

So, anyone who has been through this with their daughter, I'd love to hear some experience....
If it was just the beginning, and caught before a full-on fracture, did your daughter continue to go to gym?
Did she do any specific conditioning to help her core? (he mentioned yoga and pilates).
What did she absolutely not do that would aggravate it? (obviously I know the BWOs and I'm going to say BHS too).
Was there anything during the "rest" time that she really focused on that didn't bother her back? meaning, was she able to do extra bar skills, etc?

Again, please know that I am not trying to be the coach or the doctor, just an educated mom who is in charge of this 13 year old back.

Thank you!
 

gymmutti

Proud Parent
Jun 21, 2010
1,977
North America
Feel free to PM me. A few questions...

How close to a stress fracture? Officially a stress reaction seen on an MRI? Or was nothing seen but your DD responds positively to tests they do (extension on 1 foot, etc.?)

If stress reaction shown on MRI - I would treat with caution. ODD had that and Doctor emphasized with her that if she avoided extensions all together and did PT, she would fully heal and not have issues going forward. He has been very conservative but said that he was doing so because he's seen too many cases of kids re-injuring backs otherwise. DD had stress reactions on both sides of L4. She was braced (he only put her in a brace so she could go to gym and do things without risk of extensions - even if it was just PT and conditioning to start) for 12 weeks. She is just finishing up PT and should be fully cleared by doctor at her appointment in 1 week (21 weeks from diagnosis). This happened at the end of Dec and she missed the entire season but she's had no pain as she's come back and PT is pleased.

YDD had nothing show on MRI but had symptoms when dr tested her. No brace and took a 2 week complete rest. She began PT and went to gym and did no extensions until PT cleared her - cleared 6 weeks from diagnosis.

If the doctor uses the term spondy, I would not be doing extensions for a couple of weeks at least.
 
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Ali'sMom

Proud Parent
Feb 20, 2014
3,116
Thank you @gymmutti I couldn't remember who had two girls with issues but at different levels.

It was seen on x-ray. No fracture, but indications of leading to stress reaction. (I think that's how it was described). He didn't say she "has" spondy, but that instead of doing MRI/radiation to an adolescent to confirm, it's getting treated. After one month of resting what hurts, we go back. If there's still pain, then move forward with MRI (or "single photon something or other", which I take to mean MRI or something like that)

I'm definitely advocating no extensions whatsoever.

Right now, because of how vague he was on the "resting", and because I've let it process, I vascillate between "he's saying rest to be pre-emptive, and just avoid the extensions and any motion that causes pain", and "holy cow, she could end up with a back fracture, and she should be laying down whenever she's not at school".

I will be telling the coaches, that even the smallest things are up to DD - if she says it hurts, SHE IS TO NOT DO IT. PERIOD.
 

gymmutti

Proud Parent
Jun 21, 2010
1,977
North America
Ali'sMom - The one with the stress reactions had nothing really show on the X-Ray - only the MRI. That is why the doctor was so cautious - he said once you can see a break on an X-Ray it is likely never going to fully heal with bone growth.

I'm glad your DD does not have a fracture!! Just make sure she understands how important resting it is.
 

B&M's mom

Proud Parent
Sep 4, 2010
437
Can't offer any advice about the back but I'd make the restrictions crystal clear to both the coaches and your daughter (once you figure them out). My DD will stretch the restrictions so far that no one can recognize them. She is recovering from knee surgery and her doc was reluctant to let her step foot into the gym for 6 weeks as she's on crutches with a full brace and he doesn't want her falling. After she explained that she would only be doing upper body and core conditioning, she was permitted to go in. Last week, she informs me that she fell while doing shadow walking on the beam. When I asked why she was doing this, her response was that just doing conditioning was so boring. Needless to say, I reconfirmed the restrictions with her and the coaches.
 

sce

Proud Parent
Mar 11, 2014
6,149
I have no personal experience with this but dd has a teammate who did not get clear directions in what not to do, just avoiding things that hurt. A year later she's still doing this, so really has not gotten better. I would be inclined to restrict a lot of things, i.e. No back extension: walkover a, bridges, handsprings, leaps etc. As well, no pounding/rebounding as that put pressure on the back too. So no vault or tumbling. I would be concerned too abut swinging on bars as that requires arching. If you think about it, if avoiding all of this for one month means avoiding a bigger injury then it's totally worth it.
 

GymmieC

Proud Parent
Dec 26, 2012
263
I was almost having heart palpations at the thought of how much out of pocket money I have to spend to have DD see a PT that specializes in gymnastics. PT treats only gymnasts. But reading this pist, I now have validation that what I am doing is exactly what I needed to do. DD has spondy at the L5 S1. I clearly have Zero clue what she has to do, avoid etc. Yesterday was her visit with PT. She started PT a week after diagnosis with our medical practice PT, but even she knew DD had to see someone who knows gymnastics, so she transitioned to her new PT. My advice is find a PT who works with gymnasts. DD was given a list of skills for all events of what she can and can not do. PT will transition her to full practice as her body can handle it, pull back at the first sign of pain, but best of all She communicates with coaches. I hope your DD heals well.
 

munchkin3

Proud Parent
Jun 6, 2008
2,102
A girl in gym just went through this. Stress reaction, pre- stress fracture.......No gymnastics at all for 2 months.....none. No jumping, running, bending......lots of stretching, especially the hamstrings. She came in for an hour a couple of times a week to condition core, arms, legs and bike, and to team build.
PT 3 times a week.

She just came back cleared........the doctors around here have seen too many horror stories with gymnastics and backs.....its just not worth rushing.
Back problems are gymnastics ending......unlike most other problems.......get an MRI now, be sure- and err on the side of caution.
 

&bs

Coach
Judge
Club Owner / Manager
Dec 18, 2013
66
Here any stress reaction/fracture will be 6-8 weeks completely out of the gym. No p.e. or sport at school etc. Core work at home.
 

munchkin3

Proud Parent
Jun 6, 2008
2,102
Alismom- I have 3 good friends, 2 were elite gymnasts who began having spondy issues in the teens, another who was a college gymnast.
Back then, they just dealt with it and didn't really take the conservative approach. Now, all of these grown women are dealing with major back issues. One was pars defect, one was disk issues, the last was spodylolistheses (which happens as a result of an untreated stress fracture)
So just think, do you want your daughter to take back pain with her, perhaps forever, because the thought of 2 months out of gymnastics is too long? You DD is a child, and she will of course try and say certain things don't hurt in order to do gymnastics......
All three of these women have said it was NOT Worth it.....they should have taken 6 months off if necessary......

Please, think of any back pain you have ever experienced, and put it on your kid- for years......just take the conservative approach.....it's not worth it!
 

profmom

Proud Parent
Nov 18, 2011
9,461
Region 7
DD does not have spondy, but back in December, we suspected that she did. One piece of advice you haven't gotten yet is to ask around and find the right orthopedist who has experience working with gymnasts. It took us three tries to find the guy who could help her.

When we suspected spondy, the lines were drawn quite conservatively. No arching (no walkovers, handsprings, limbers, etc. in either direction), no hard landings, no vigorous running, really nothing but conditioning, and even that was restricted. She did a lot of leg lifts, wall sits, and core work that she could do without arching. Bars was only conditioning. She's in the process of working her way back with a chiropractor specifically recommended by her orthopedist who is doing more PT exercises than adjustment. I echo what others have said: you can't be too careful with this, and it is really important to get care that's both expert and experienced.

I'm sorry to say this, but if your doctor is recommending yoga, you may not have the right doctor for a gymnast with this condition. Her problem is almost certainly not general lack of flexibility, though it may be a lack of flexibility in her shoulders paired with too much flexibility elsewhere.
 

z2akids

Proud Parent
May 19, 2014
711
Oh, and I thought of something else. DD's Sports Med doctor and the PT both gave us papers for the gym and for school that indicated that she is on light duty. She was not allowed to return until we had paperwork I dictating a release from some/all restrictions
 
Jun 23, 2016
5
20
Ok, so I have had bilateral spondy (with full fracture) myself snd it was very difficult. It all depends on your daughter's situation for what you should allow her to do. I took 5 months off with NO activity at all. I didn't go into the gym, I didn't do track or even run outside. If your daughter has milder pain you need to think about how much you trust her. Is she comfortable with her coaches? Will she tell them if it hurts? Or will she keep pushing? I know that I did for sure and that's why I had to take so much time off. Rest for back injuries is important. Personally I would suggest some time off doing NOTHING and then coming back when she gets the clean bill of health. While she's off she can do physio exercises for her back and core.
 
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Ali'sMom

Proud Parent
Feb 20, 2014
3,116
The update to this thread reminds me to ask: how is she doing?

She has improved greatly!
Had a follow up last week, and when she did what he told her to see the pain level, it was "just a little", rather than "a whole lot".
She's continuing to go to gym, with nothing arching, definitely no BWO, and improving. He said keep this modification for another 4-6 weeks, and we will see from there.
She's doing the stretching that she was given, daily, and I'm sure that's definitely helping strengthen the part of her back that needs it.

We are currently manuevering our way through pushing the CW-CW on beam, rather than BWO connection, ever. (FYI: DD plans for this year, L7, to be her last, so she's not needing anything further than CW-CW and RO.)

Thanks for asking!!
 

flippin out

Proud Parent
Sep 26, 2011
659
So glad that your dd is doing well in recovery. Best of luck to her as she continues to heal. Keep up the PT, that is crucial
 
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