Low Back Pain (stress fractures)

My son (15) was pitching in a game and started having some pain in his lower back, it started on the left side then spread all the way across his lower back. We thought it was just a muscle problem but the next game that he pitched in he had to ask to be pulled because of the pain. I took him to his sports medicine doctor and after putting him through some movement tests suspected a stress fracture of his vertebra, he was told not to play in any games until we found out for sure. Regular x-rays showed nothing so he ordered a bone scan. Sure enough my son had 2 stress fractures of his L5 vertebra, it’s call pars defect or spondylolsis. He didn’t play the rest of the season, rested all summer long, no sports, 3 weeks of physical therapy/core strengthening (which made the pain worse). When basketball season came in the fall he wanted to play but the pain was too much, so he rested some more until baseball season.

His doctor told him it would be safe to play baseball if he could stand the pain, so of course thats what he did. He started for the High School Varsity team at 3rd base and even pitched a few games, although his swing at bat wasn’t the same, we could tell he was not swinging as hard as he used to and his batting average dropped pretty significantly but all in all he had a good season, the pain wasn’t too bad until after the games when he would need some ibuprofin and a good rub down.

Now it is the end of September and he is still in pain, we went to an orthopedic doctor who put him in a hard brace (past 3 weeks), it starts just under his arms all the way down over his hips, 23 hrs a day, he cannot go to school for more than a few hours because his pain is so much worse when he sits, we went to a orthopedic surgeon to look into surgery to repair these fractures that haven’t healed at all and we are told they probably will never heal, the surgeon refuses to do surgery on him because of his age. He wants my son to wear the brace for another 12 weeks, in hopes that it will releave his pain. This was very upsetting news for my son, we were hoping to have the surgery now so he could maybe be recovered enough for this coming season.

Has anyone else had to deal with these fractures? Will the bracing help the pain or is my son in for another 12 weeks of bracing with no positive outcome? Should we get another opinion about having surgery?

I don’t have an experience with this type of injury but I just wanted to wish your son the best. I hope he recovers fully and soon.