Prevalance of asymptomatic annular tears and disk herniations
PainSci summary of Stadnik 1998?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focussed on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★★☆☆?3-star ratings are for typical studies with no more (or less) than the usual common problems. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.
29 of 36 asymptomatic people nevertheless had “bulging disk and focal disk portrusion.” From the abstract: “Annular tears and focal disk protrusions on MR images ... are frequently found in an asymptomatic population.” Indeed, these researchers found that a whopping 81% of pain-free adults had bulging disks, and an equally amazing 56% of them had annular tears (ripping of connective tissue near the disk).
PURPOSE: To evaluate the prevalence and radiologic findings of annular tear (especially of contrast material enhancement), bulging disk, and disk herniation on T2-weighted and gadolinium-enhanced T1-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) images in people without low back pain (LBP) or sciatica.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thirty-six volunteers without LBP and/or sciatica (18 with no symptoms in their lifetime and 18 who were pain free for at least 6 months) were examined with sagittal and axial T2-weighted fast spin-echo (SE) and sagittal gadolinium-enhanced T1- weighted fast SE imaging. The prevalence and MR findings of bulging disk, focal protrusion, extrusion, and nonenhancing or enhancing annular tears were assessed.
RESULTS: The prevalence of bulging disk and focal disk protrusion was 81% (29 volunteers) and 33% (12 volunteers), respectively. There were no extrusions. Twenty-eight annular tears were found in 20 patients (56%); 27 tears (96%) also showed contrast enhancement.
CONCLUSION: Annular tears and focal disk protrusions on MR images, with or without contrast enhancement, are frequently found in an asymptomatic population. Extruded disk herniation, displacement of nerve root, and interruption of annuloligamentous complex are unusual findings in an asymptomatic population and can be more closely related to patients with LBP or sciatica.
These three articles on PainScience.com cite Stadnik 1998 as a source:
- PS Trigger Points & Myofascial Pain Syndrome — A guide to the unfinished science of muscle pain, with reviews of every theory and self-treatment and therapy option
- PS Save Yourself from Low Back Pain! — Low back pain myths debunked and all your treatment options reviewed
- PS Your Back Is Not Out of Alignment — Debunking the obsession with alignment, posture, and other biomechanical bogeymen as major causes of pain