Back pain and radiological changes in the thoraco-lumbar spine of athletes. A long-term follow-up

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2001 Apr;11(2):103-9. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0838.2001.011002103.x.


From 1996 to 1999, back pain and radiological changes in the thoraco-lumbar spine were investigated in 134 former top athletes, representing wrestling, gymnastics, soccer and tennis (age 27-39 years) and a group of 28 non-athletes of comparable age. This is a long-term follow-up investigation of a previous radiological study of the spine with clinical correlation. Despite significantly more radiological abnormalities among the athletes, they did not report higher frequency of back pain than the non-athletes. A decrease in disc height or new disc height reduction in one or more of the intervertebral discs between the two examinations correlated significantly with back pain at follow-up.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology
  • Back Pain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Back Pain / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / diagnostic imaging
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / epidemiology
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Radiography
  • Thoracic Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging*
  • Time Factors