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Disc Degeneration does not mean ongoing lower back pain

Allied Health Care for the Ballarat Region

Disc Degeneration does not mean ongoing lower back pain

disc degeneration

Your recent back imaging shows disc degeneration, that does not mean you will get ongoing lower back pain.

 

All too often patients will present, very worried, with a story that they have had imaging on the lower back and there is disc degeneration-I am doomed to a life of lower back pain.

 

A recent study in the journal “Spine” reported the outcomes for 75 army conscripts in Finland. These conscripts had undergone MRI investigation of their lumbar spine 20 years ago. The studies reported degenerative disc disease in the lumbar spine. Many people will believe that this means they will have a lifetime of lower back pain.

 

On review MRI 20 years later there was increased degenerative disc disease but there was not an associated increase in lower back pain.

 

There are many contributors to lower back pain which may need to be assessed and perhaps managed. Imaging can form part of the assessment process where your health practitioner is looking for something seriously wrong with your lower back. These images are simply a picture of your spine at a point in time.

 

As noted above there are many factors that contribute to lower back pain and it is not useful in many cases of lower back pain to be unduly worried about imaging reports. Stress and concern about reports of imaging are known to contribute to an increase in pain experienced.

 

 

Peter Steggall

Specialist Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist

Lake Health Group

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