Prevalence of lumbar disc degeneration observed by magnetic resonance in symptomless women

Lancet. 1986 Dec 13;2(8520):1366-7. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(86)92008-8.


302 women aged 16-80 without symptoms of spinal disease had their lumbar intervertebral discs examined by magnetic resonance. The prevalence of one or more degenerate discs increased linearly with age but disc degeneration was already present in over one-third of women aged 21-40; these young women may prove to be at special risk of disc prolapse later in life. The high prevalence of symptomless disc degeneration must be taken into account when magnetic resonance is used for assessment of spinal symptoms.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Spinal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Spinal Diseases / pathology