C̲o̲n̲c̲l̲u̲s̲i̲o̲n̲s̲: Imaging findings of spine degeneration are present in high proportions of asymptomatic individuals, increasing with age.
𝙈𝙖𝙣𝙮 𝙞𝙢𝙖𝙜𝙞𝙣𝙜-𝙗𝙖𝙨𝙚𝙙 𝙙𝙚𝙜𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙫𝙚 𝙛𝙚𝙖𝙩𝙪𝙧𝙚𝙨 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙡𝙞𝙠𝙚𝙡𝙮 𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙩 𝙤𝙛 𝙣𝙤𝙧𝙢𝙖𝙡 𝙖𝙜𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙪𝙣𝙖𝙨𝙨𝙤𝙘𝙞𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙥𝙖𝙞𝙣.
These imaging findings must be interpreted in the context of the patient’s clinical condition.
“We performed MRI examinations on 98 asymptomatic people. The scans were read independently by two neuroradiologists who did not know the clinical status of the subjects. To reduce the possibility of bias in interpreting the studies, abnormal MRI scans from 27 people with back pain were mixed randomly with the scans from the asymptomatic people.”
“On MRI examination of the lumbar spine, many people without back pain have disk bulges or protrusions but not extrusions. Given the high prevalence of these findings and of back pain, the discovery by MRI of bulges or protrusions in people with low back pain may frequently be coincidental.”
Ref.:
N Engl J Med. 1994 Jul 14;331(2):69-73. Magnetic resonance imaging of the lumbar spine in people without back pain. Jensen MC1, Brant-Zawadzki MN, Obuchowski N, Modic MT, Malkasian D, Ross JS.