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, 9 (7), 545-50

Spinal Stenosis Prevalence and Association With Symptoms: The Framingham Study


Spinal Stenosis Prevalence and Association With Symptoms: The Framingham Study

Leonid Kalichman et al. Spine J.


Background context: The prevalence of lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) in the general population and association with low back pain (LBP) remain unclear.

Purpose: To evaluate the prevalence of congenital and acquired LSS observed on computed tomography in a community-based sample; and to evaluate the association between LSS and LBP.

Study design/setting: Cross-sectional observational study. This study was an ancillary project to the Framingham Heart Study.

Patient sample: A total of 3,529 participants underwent multidetector computed tomography; 191 were enrolled in this study.

Outcome measures: Self-report measures: LBP in the preceding 12 months was evaluated using a self-report questionnaire. Physiologic measures: LSS (congenital and acquired) was characterized using two cut-points: 12mm for relative LSS and 10mm for absolute LSS.

Methods: Using multiple logistic regression, we examined the association between LSS and LBP, adjusting for sex, age, and body mass index.

Results: In the congenital group, relative LSS was found in 4.7% and absolute LSS in 2.6% of patients. Acquired LSS was found in 22.5% and in 7.3%, respectively. Acquired LSS showed increasing prevalence with age less than 40 years, the prevalence of relative and absolute LSS was 20.0% and 4.0%, respectively, and in those 60 to 69 years the prevalence was 47.2% and 19.4%, respectively. The presence of absolute LSS was associated with LBP with an odds ratio of 3.16 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.05-9.53).

Conclusions: The prevalence of congenital and acquired LSS in a community-based sample was characterized. The prevalence of acquired stenosis increased with age. LSS is associated with a threefold higher risk of experiencing LBP.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of interest statement: None of the authors have any conflict of interest regarding the contents of this article.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Schema of measurement of spinal canal at the level of intervertebral disc (acquired stenosis).
Figure 2
Figure 2
Prevalence of individuals with acquired LSS (%) according the age groups.

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