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L5 stress fracture (HELP NEEDED!!)

edited 11/06/2014 - 4:36 AM in Lower Back Pain

I was diagnosed with 2 stress fractures found after an MRI scan at the beginning of summer 2014. it is believed to have happened around a year and a half ago and I played a hole year of rugby on it, making it worse, unaware of the damage and the problem. I was told to have 3 months complete rest avoiding any extension activity, putting weight through my spine, and any pounding activity. I was then told to come back for a re scan to see how it has done, I was told that both brakes were healed and I could return to physical activity slowly, the plan to return went something like: week 1 running, core, light extension exercises and light back work. Week 2: sprinting, harder extension activity, un weighted squats and dead lifts, and I played some touch rugby. week 3 (where I am nearly at now) : any gym work on my lower back depending on how it feels, getting back ready for contact rugby etc. week 4: should be the last week of rehab, contact rugby, all gym exercises, all going on how it feels. and at the end of the week my first return to rugby with a low standard school match.
I am constantly worried as to what my back is doing. I am working very very hard with my recovery and strengthening it up, but it goes through stages of pain, admittedly not the pain I felt when it was broken, but a different pain. I have been told this is just my back getting used to hard exercise again and its normal, but its very stressful and some definite reassurance would be massively appreciated.
my goals is to become a professional rugby player and don't want this to hold me back. I am 15 nearly 16 and play for bath u18s and am involved in the England development program for u16 and hope to represent England mid way through next year.
But of course this must get better first. I am following the instructions given by my consultants and physio but I am still slightly worried that the slight pain might be the bone rather than the muscles getting back into things!?
Sorry I've written so much but I just want to get as much info through as I can to give you a clearer idea.

If anyone could get back to me that would be hugely appreciated!


Will Partington


  • Welcome to Spine-Health. If you follow the instructions of your doctors and physical therapists, and go slow , you should heal pretty well......you are young, and have that on your side.
    Some pain while working out again, and regaining your strength and stamina is expected but don't push too hard too fast......I'm sure that your doctors will order xrays to check the status of the fractures to make sure that you are healing nicely.
    Good luck in reaching your rugby goals........
  • richykenwoodrrichykenwood West MidlandsPosts: 2
    Just Joined the site.

    I'm an ex rugby player (52) and was diagnosed with a stress fracture at L5 about 3 months ago. Although over weight and with a typical ex rugby player physique - beer belly etc I have always kept active and done a bit in the gym.

    I thought my original injury was torn ligaments about 20 years ago - be that as it may - I seem to have now got a stress fracture in my back - my guess is either using a rowing machine or the leg press machine at the gym.

    Relying on the NHS, I have had no advice or help and everybody, gym instructors etc have been unwilling to offer any advice on exercise until I get a consultation regarding by back/Mri/stress fracture, which has been about 3 months as (there is a back log in the system).

    I've decided to just start training again, I walk 40 minutes a day anyway, but I did 20 minutes on the cross trainer yesterday and really enjoyed it, and am planning on doing that plus some light weights today (no weights above head, no rowing, no leg press).

    It is really difficult to find advice for this specific complaint - myself as a victim, and relevant parties are scared of the words "stress fracture" so will not offer any advice for fear of come backs.

    At 50 plus and overweight I have come to the decision that holistically it is better for me to keep active.

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