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Disk Degeneration Higher than Reported in the Youth at this Hospital

disk degeneration

Goal of the Study?

The goal of this study1 was to have a closer look at the younger population’s lower back MRI findings. Most epidemiological investigations on youth and back pain MRIs have looked at developed countries. In this study, the researchers looked at an underdeveloped country, Uganda, along with the youth’s clinical features of low back pain.


Why are they doing this study?

Lower back pain is a worldwide health problem that has a prevalence of approximately 20%. Interestingly, in Africa, the prevalence of LBP is approximately 57%, but in Uganda, it is 20%. In Uganda, x-ray is the only imaging modality available which appears to be frustrating for the low back pain sufferers. Professionals in developed countries choose MRI because of the higher spatial resolution of soft tissues. Lifetime activities like heavy weight lifting or work that involves bending over at the waist have been positively correlated to advancing the degenerative cascade.2 The primary purpose of this study was to get a more transparent look (using MRI) at the younger low back pain population in Uganda at Nsambya hospital.


What was done in this study?

One hundred and fifty-seven subjects with low back pain in the age range of 18-39 were imaged using MRI.

disk degeneration spinal stenosis


What did they find?

Of those 157 patients, 82% were in severe pain, while 57% of the participants had pain lasting more than ten weeks. Sixty-five percent of them had desiccation of the disks, and many of these patients had multilevel involvement. Facet joint arthropathy was found in nearly 50%, and disc bulges were found in approximately 31%.


Why do these findings matter?

Disk degeneration has been found to be correlated to low back pain. Learning about the changes early in an individual’s life may help curtail the long-term condition that is a challenge to treat—lumbar spinal stenosis. Back pain in these underdeveloped countries in which physical labour plays a large part in the workforce and should be taken more seriously.


At Dynamic Disc Designs, we create dynamic human anatomy lumbar models to help explain MRI findings as it relates to the patient suffering from lower back pain. Disk degeneration changes progress over a lifetime and our dynamic disc models help show these progressive changes as the disks reduce height and the breathing room for nerves can be reduced.

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