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Age-Related Spine Changes, Pain and Imaging

Age-related changes are often found in spine imaging. However these often occur in pain-free individuals as well as those with back pain.



Pain does not equal tissue damage. No discomfort at all, or minor sensations, can be accompanied by more severe changes on imaging. Conversely, you can have someone with serious discomfort but only minor age-related changes in the spine.


Pain is much more complex and non linear than you might initially think.


With thanks to Mike Grice of Movement Therapy Education

Credit - Systematic Literature Review of Imaging Features of Spinal Degeneration in Asymptomatic Populations, W. Brinjikji et al, Published in final edited form as: AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2015 April

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