Disc degeneration of young low back pain patients: a prospective 30-year follow-up MRI study

Review written by Todd Hargrove info

Key Points

  1. Decreased signal intensity of lumbar discs at baseline predicted severe degeneration at 30-year follow-up.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

MRI is an accurate method of measuring degenerative changes in intervertebral discs. The long-term consequences of such changes remain unclear however. Therefore, this study sought to determine the extent to which degenerative disc changes in young low back pain patients predict progression of degenerative changes, disability, and pain in a 30-year follow-up.

MRI is an accurate method of measuring degenerative changes in intervertebral discs.
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Tissue damage is only one of many different factors that may contribute to pain.

METHODS

In 1987, 75 low back pain patients aged 20 had lumbar spines MRIs. The subjects were all military recruits whose pain was severe enough to prevent service. 30 years later, 69 of these patients were contacted. Of these, 35 competed

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