Well, that is what happened to David Wright. He’s been playing with a stress fracture in his back since April 19th. On that day he made a diving tag of Carlos Lee at third base. Who knew. Nothing from the game summary says anything about a potential injury.
Although Wright has played with pain this season, he was still floored when the diagnosis came:
I was preparing for Josh Johnson and the Florida Marlins tonight. Shocked is a good word for it.
He’s been a very durable player through the years playing in over 88% of the total games.
What is a stress fracture of the back? The term is spondylolysis, but I’ll keep calling it a stress fracture. It affects the lower back and is caused by overuse as opposed to trauma. This is not a broken back that will lead to paralysis, so settle down.
How do you know if you have a stress fracture of the back? Pain is a big indicator, but it is usually triggered by something like bending over and get worse with activity. The gold standard is a CT Scan or MRI, though. This will show the vertebrae of the lower back and allow a doctor to make a proper diagnosis. The issue is that a stress fracture of the back can mimic a common muscle strain, which is what happened to David Wright.
How do you treat a stress fracture of the back? Rest and some physical therapy. You’ll need a follow-up CT scan or MRI to determine if healing is occurring. In a very limited number of cases will surgery be necessary.
How long does it take for the stress fracture of the back to heal? It’s going to take a few weeks of rest, strengthening, stretching and rest. Yes, I said rest twice. Seriously, you have to pretty much shut down and allow your back to heal.