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Condition/Disorder Synonyms

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  • Cervical spondylolysis

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ICD-9-CM Code

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  • 738.4 Acquired spondylolisthesis

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ICD-10-CM Code

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  • M43.00 Spondylolysis, site unspecified

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Preferred Practice Pattern1

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Key Features

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Description

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  • Stress fracture of the pedicles on the vertebra below

  • Tightness or pain in the neck region

  • Often no symptoms

  • Weakness in the pars

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Essentials of Diagnosis

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  • Diagnosis made by X-ray

  • Can be acquired or congenital

  • Neck pain

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General Considerations

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  • Instability

  • Avoid extension positions that increase symptoms

  • Thin vertebral bone: pars

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Demographics

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  • Teenagers with high risk activities are more at risk

  • Runs in families

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Clinical Findings

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Signs and Symptoms

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  • Pain in cervical spine, shoulder, arm, upper extremity

  • Stiffness along spine

  • Headaches

  • Pain in cervical spine worsens with extension

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Functional Implications

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  • Difficulty sustaining standing postures secondary to neck and arm pain

  • Inability to sleep flat on the back without a pillow

  • Difficulty with movements (reaching overhead) secondary to pain

  • Limit sports participation

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Possible Contributing Causes

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  • Forceful extension from hit under the chin (sports)

  • Congenital

  • Car accident, hit from rear

  • Hyperextension of the cervical spine

  • Increased cervical lordosis posture

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Differential Diagnosis

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  • Peripheral nerve impairment

  • Spinal tumor

  • Peripheral neuropathy

  • Paraspinal spasms

  • Degenerative disk disease

  • Stenosis

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Means of Confirmation or Diagnosis

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Imaging

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  • MRI helps to visualize compressed or inflamed nerve root in diagnosis

  • X-ray/plain-film radiograph to see vertebra position

  • CT scan to show herniation compressing the spinal canal/nerves

  • Electrodiagnostic/nerve conduction testing can help to determine a specific impaired nerve function

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Findings and Interpretation

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  • Stress fracture of the pars

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Referrals/Admittance

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  • For imaging

  • For surgical consult if myelopathy is suspected

    • Fusion

    • Decompression

    • Laminectomy

    • Hemilaminectomy

  • For corticosteroid injection, anti-inflammatory medication

  • For halo vest traction device, cervical bracing

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Impairments

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  • Restricted mobility of the upper cervical spine

  • Hypermobility

  • Weakness noted of neck musculature

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Intervention

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  • Rest

  • Bracing

  • Address Pain

    • Electrical stimulation

    • Heat/ice

  • Address hypertonicity

    • Soft-tissue massage

    • Heat

  • Address muscle weakness

    • Stability exercises

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Functional Goals

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  • Patient will be able to

    • Sit with neutral cervical spine posture for greater than 30 minutes with 0 out of 10 pain rating

    • Stand at work station and perform computer work for 45 minutes with 0 out of 10 pain rating

    • Rotate cervical spine 75 degrees so as to look over the shoulder ...

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