Association between changes in lumbar Modic changes and low back symptoms over a two-year period

BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2015 Apr 22:16:98. doi: 10.1186/s12891-015-0540-3.

Abstract

Background: The association of Modic changes (MC) with low back pain (LBP) is unclear. The purpose of our study was to investigate the associations between the extent of Type 1 (M1) and Type 2 (M2) MC and low back symptoms over a two-year period.

Methods: The subjects (n = 64, mean age 43.8 y; 55 [86%] women) were consecutive chronic LBP patients who had M1 or mixed M1/M2 on lumbar spine magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Size and type of MC on sagittal lumbar MRI and clinical data regarding low back symptoms were recorded at baseline and two-year follow-up. The size (%) of each MC in relation to vertebral size was estimated from sagittal slices (midsagittal and left and right quarter), while proportions of M1 and M2 within the MC were evaluated from three separate slices covering the MC. The extent (%) of M1 and M2 was calculated as a product of the size of MC and the proportions of M1 and M2 within the MC, respectively. Changes in the extent of M1 and M2 were analysed for associations with changes in LBP intensity and the Oswestry disability index (ODI), using linear regression analysis.

Results: At baseline, the mean LBP intensity was 6.5 and the mean ODI was 33%. During follow-up, LBP intensity increased in 15 patients and decreased in 41, while ODI increased in 19 patients and decreased in 44. In univariate analyses, change in the extent of M1 associated significantly positively with changes in LBP intensity and ODI (beta 0.26, p = 0.036 and beta 0.30, p = 0.017; respectively), whereas the change in the extent of M2 did not associate with changes in LBP intensity and ODI (beta -0.24, p = 0.054 and beta -0.13, p = 0.306; respectively). After adjustment for age, gender, and size of MC at baseline, change in the extent of M1 remained significantly positively associated with change in ODI (beta 0.53, p = 0.003).

Conclusion: Change in the extent of M1 associated positively with changes in low back symptoms.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bone Marrow / pathology*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Low Back Pain / epidemiology*
  • Low Back Pain / physiopathology*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / pathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index