uu.seUppsala University Publications
Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Back pain and MRI changes in the thoraco-lumbar spine of top athletes in four different sports: a 15-year follow-up study
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Oncology, Radiology and Clinical Immunology, Radiology.
Show others and affiliations
2009 (English)In: Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy, ISSN 0942-2056, E-ISSN 1433-7347, Vol. 17, no 9, 1125-1134 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A total 71 male athletes (weight lifters, wrestlers, orienteers, and ice-hockey players) and 21 non-athletes were randomly selected, for a baseline MRI study. After 15 years all the participants at baseline were invited to take part in a follow-up examination, including a questionnaire on back pain and a follow-up MRI examination. Thirty-two athletes and all non-athletes had disc height reduction at one or several disc levels. Disc degeneration was found in more than 90% of the athletes and deterioration had occurred in 88% of the athletes, with the highest frequency in weight lifters and ice-hockey players. 78% of the athletes and 38% of the non-athletes reported previous or present history of back pain at baseline and 71 and 75%, respectively at follow-up. There was no statistically significant correlation between back pain and MRI changes. In conclusion, athletes in sports with severe or moderate demands on the back run a high risk of developing disc degeneration and other abnormalities of the spine on MRI and they report high frequency of back pain. The study confirmed our hypothesis, i.e. that most of the spinal abnormalities in athletes seem to occur during the growth spurt, since the majority of the abnormalities demonstrated at follow-up MRI after the sports career were present already at baseline. The abnormalities found at young age deteriorated to a varying degree during the 15-year follow-up, probably due to a combination of continued high load sporting activities and normal ageing. Preventive measures should be considered to avoid the development of these injuries in young athletes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 17, no 9, 1125-1134 p.
Keyword [en]
Adolescence, Athletes, Back pain, Disc degeneration, MRI, Spine
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-118807DOI: 10.1007/s00167-009-0767-3ISI: 000269858400018PubMedID: 19305975OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-118807DiVA: diva2:299515
Available from: 2010-02-23 Created: 2010-02-23 Last updated: 2012-03-07Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full textPubMed

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Nyman, Rickard
By organisation
In the same journal
Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
Medical and Health Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 207 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link