In a research paper published in Miltary Medicine, spinal canal spacing was found to be a better predictor in the development of chronic low back pain when compared to intervertebral disc degeneration. 1
These researchers used MRI to look at the role of spinal stenosis, disc degeneration, nerve root compression in low back pain among Finnish males ages 18-26. They looked at the intervertebral foramen (exiting nerve canals) and the midsagittal slice examining spacing of 108 of these subjects that had chronic low back pain comparing 90 asymptotic controls without chronic low back pain.
With the prevalence of degenerative disc disease in a reported 52% of Finnish 15-29yrs of age, the authors thought it would be good to determine if degeneration was related to chronic low back pain.
What they found was those who had reduced spinal canal spacing at the L1-L4 were more likely to exhibit chronic low back pain.
Disc degeneration is identified by disc height loss. And with disc height loss, there are spacing changes that take place in the intervertebral foramina and the spinal canal. Congenital spinal canal variations 2 can predispose a person to acquire low back pain but the maintenance of disc height, even in those people, should be priority number one. Disc height is diurnal and will vary with mechanical forces that people have complete control over.
At Dynamic Disc Designs, we have designed models to help convey these important low back pain topics, to help the patient understand clearly how spinal canal spacing, intervertebral disc narrowing, disc protrusion and intervertebral foraminal narrowing can impact function. Our dynamic disc models help the patient get to know their own back pain and how the postures, loads and motions can have a profound impact on their management of the pain.
- Visuri T, Ulaska J, Eskelin M, Pulkkinen P. Narrowing of lumbar spinal canal predicts chronic low back pain more accurately than intervertebral disc degeneration: a magnetic resonance imaging study in young Finnish male conscripts. Mil Med. 005 Nov;170(11):926-30 ↩
- Kitab SA, Alsulaiman AM, Benzel EC. Anatomic radiological variations in developmental lumbar spinal stenosis: a prospective, control-matched comparative analysis. Spine J. 2014 May 1;14(5):808-15. doi: 10.1016/j.spinee.2013.09.012. Epub 2013 Oct 9. ↩