Back pain and MRI abnormalities in the thoraco-lumbar spine of elite long distance runners. A cross sectional study.

Main Article Content

Olof Thoreson Karin Svensson Pall Jonasson Peter Kovac Leif Sward Adad Baranto

Abstract

Study design

Observational cross-sectional study. Level of evidence 3.

Objective

The objective was to investigate the amount of MRI abnormalities in the thoraco-lumbar

spine and the prevalence of back pain in male elite long distance runners compared to a

control group of non-athletes in the corresponding age.

Summary of Background

Studies have shown that athletes have a higher prevalence of back pain and a greater

number of spinal abnormalities on MRI, such as disc degeneration, compared to non-

athletes. The associations between running and both back pain and spinal MRI abnormalities

have not been clarified.

Data

Study participants were 22 male elite long distance runners (runner group) and 25 male non-

athletes (control group) of 18-28 years of age.

Methods

Back pain was assessed by a three part self-reported questionnaire. Sagittal T1 and T2

weighted MRI examinations from Th5 to sacrum was conducted to evaluate MRI

abnormalities according to study protocol.

Results

The runners reported a significant higher prevalence of back pain (45%), compared to the

control group (12%) (P=0.011). No statistical significant difference was found in amount of

MRI verified spinal abnormalities (P=0.614) or type of abnormalities between the groups. No

statistically significant correlation between back pain and MRI abnormalities was

established.

Conclusions

Elite level male long distance runners have a significant higher prevalence of back pain but

demonstrate no significant difference in the amount or type of spinal abnormalities

compared to non-athletes. Further prospective studies are needed to validate the results.

Keywords

Running, Low back Pain, young adult, Magnetic resonance imaging, intervertebral disc

displacement, athletes, sports, physical loading, cross sectional studies.

Article Details

How to Cite
THORESON, Olof et al. Back pain and MRI abnormalities in the thoraco-lumbar spine of elite long distance runners. A cross sectional study.. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 2, n. 4, nov. 2015. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <http://www.journals.ke-i.org/index.php/mra/article/view/325>. Date accessed: 20 sep. 2017. doi: https://doi.org/10.18103/mra.v2i4.325.
Keywords
Running, Low back Pain, young adult, Magnetic resonance imaging, intervertebral disc displacement, athletes, sports, physical loading, cross sectional studies.
Section
Research Articles

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