Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

General Spine News

MRI Findings in 40-Year Old Adults with Low Back Pain

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanning is a very useful tool when it comes to finding the cause of low back pain (LBP). But many people with abnormalities seen on MRI don't have any symptoms. In this study a large number of 40-year old patients had an MRI done. The doctor reading the MRI didn't know if the patient had any symptoms or not.

MRI findings were reported for this group as follows:

  • Most abnormal findings were in at the bottom of the lumbar spine.
  • Changes in the disc shape and a narrowed disc space were common (seen in more than half the cases).
  • Tears in the outer covering of the disc and disc protrusion were seen in 25 to 50 percent of the patients.
  • Most disc changes were linked with LBP.
  • Men had more disc changes than women.

    The authors say this is the first study to look at the findings of MRIs in a large number of 40 year old adults with LBP. Some, but not all, changes seen on MRI can be linked to LBP. Doctors are advised to use caution when looking at MRI results in middle-aged adults with LBP.

    Per Kjaer, PT, MSc, PhD, et al. Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Low Back Pain in Adults: A Diagnostic Imaging Study of 40-Year-Old Men and Women. InSpine. May 15, 2005. Vol. 30. No. 10. Pp. 1173-1180.


    *Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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