A sacral stress fracture is a small break in the sacrum. The sacrum is a large triangular bone. It is the base of the spine and connects to the pelvis.
fracture specifically affects the back thinner side of the bone.
Stress fractures are caused by repeated physical stress or conditions that make the bones weaker. Sacral stress fractures are most common in young athletes and older women with
. If you have unexplained lower back pain, talk to your doctor. Prompt treatment can prevent the injury from further problems.
The most common symptom of a sacral stress fracture is low back pain. If you have any of these symptoms do not assume it is due to a sacral stress fracture. These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any of these:
Severe pain to lower back, hip, or pelvis
Pain to buttocks or groin
Increase in pain during your workout
Lower back tenderness when touched
Swelling at lower back
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Sometimes blood tests will be taken. You may be referred to a spine specialist or a surgeon who specializes in bone problems.
Tests may include the following:
of your lower back—test that uses radiation to take a picture; used to view any small cracks in the sacral bone
If the x-ray images are not definitive, you may have:
of your lower back—type of x-ray that uses a computer to create more detailed images
of your lower back—a test that uses magnetic waves to show swelling and inflammation inside the bone
—test that determines mineralization of bone
In general, treatment depends on the cause and severity. These fractures are often treated with rest and medications for pain. Minimally invasive procedures are sometimes used. Surgery may be needed. In this case a pin may be inserted into the bone. This will strengthen it and allow it to heal. Treatment options include the following:
plan will depend upon what caused the fracture. Fractures caused by physical
Return to full activity and weight bearing is gradual.
Fractures due to
osteoporosis are treated with partial weight bearing.
or other device
will be used for this.
the pool may also be advised. Your doctor may
physical therapy to help you
strengthen your muscles.
, heat, and transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS)
also be used to
Depending upon your underlying condition, your doctor may prescribe:
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a