Three articles on PainSci cite Stadnik 1998: 1. The Complete Guide to Trigger Points & Myofascial Pain 2. The Complete Guide to Low Back Pain 3. Your Back Is Not Out of Alignment
PainSci notes on Stadnik 1998:
29 of 36 asymptomatic people nevertheless had “bulging disk and focal disk protrusion.” 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 56% had annular tears (ripping of connective tissue near the disk).
While that is interesting, it is also worth noting that these signs are at the milder end of the spectrum of pathological possibilities for discs, and therefore it is less surprising that they would be asymptomatic.
original abstract †Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
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.
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- Cannabidiol (CBD) products for pain: ineffective, expensive, and with potential harms. Moore 2023 J Pain.
- Inciting events associated with lumbar disc herniation. Suri 2010 Spine J.
- Prediction of an extruded fragment in lumbar disc patients from clinical presentations. Pople 1994 Spine (Phila Pa 1976).
- Characteristics of patients with low back and leg pain seeking treatment in primary care: baseline results from the ATLAS cohort study. Konstantinou 2015 BMC Musculoskelet Disord.
- Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of universal school-based mindfulness training compared with normal school provision in reducing risk of mental health problems and promoting well-being in adolescence: the MYRIAD cluster randomised controlled trial. Kuyken 2022 Evid Based Ment Health.