Spine surgery in athletes with low back pain-considerations for management and treatment

Robert J. Burgmeier*, Wellington K. Hsu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


While degenerative lumbar spine conditions are common in the general population, there are unique considerations when diagnosed in high-level athletes. Genetic factors have been identified as a more significant contributor to the development of degenerative disc disease than occupational risks, however, some have postulated that the incessant training of young, competitive athletes may put them at a greater risk for accelerated disease. The evidence-based literature regarding lumbar disc herniation in elite athletes suggests that it is reasonable to expect excellent clinical outcomes and successful return-to-sport after either operative or non-operative treatment regardless of sport played. However, those athletes who require repetitive torque on their lumbar spines may have poorer long-term outcomes if surgical treatment is required for this condition. Painful spondylolysis in the athlete can often be treated successfully with non-operative treatment, however, if surgery is required, pars repair techniques provides a motion-sparing alternative that may lead to successful return to sport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere24284
JournalAsian Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Athletes
  • Low back pain
  • Spine
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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