THE ASSOCIATIONS BETWEEN MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING FINDINGS AND LOW BACK PAIN: A 10-YEAR LONGITUDINAL ANALYSIS

Review written by Robin Kerr info

BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

This 10-year longitudinal study examined the relationship between MRI findings and a history of LBP (low back pain). The primary aim was to investigate if tissue changes 10 years on from the baseline MRI findings were associated with LBP. The second aim was to investigate if baseline MRI changes predicted future LBP. The authors had previously presented a cross sectional study in 2016 in which disc degeneration and HIZ (high intensity zones) were found to be significantly related to LBP in regards to previous LBP bouts, severity of pain and current pain. Conversely, other recent studies have found no significant relationship between degenerative changes reported on MRI and LBP.

METHODS

Japanese hospital personnel (n=91) with a history of LBP but no current pain were recruited between 2005-2006. LBP was defined specifically (thoracolumbar junction to gluteal folds +/- referred leg pain; past surgery was excluded). Baseline demographics and MRI were recorded. Sagittal T1 &T2 weighted MRI from T12/L1 to L5/S1 were performed. Sagittal only views were a decision taken as the authors’ previous study had only used this view. Participants were invited to a follow up MRI in 2016.

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RESULTS

Due to retirement and loss of contact information only 49 subjects (53.8%) participated in follow up. No significant difference in demographic characteristics were found: average age 44.9+/- 9.3 yrs., 25 females and 24 males, BMI 21.8 +/- 4.4.

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