Vertebral bone-marrow changes in degenerative lumbar disc disease. An MRI study of 74 patients with low back pain

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1994 Sep;76(5):757-64.


We carried out MRI studies of 74 patients with end-plate and vertebral bone-marrow changes associated with degenerative lumbar disc disease. Abnormalities were classified into type A, with decreased signal intensities, and type B, with increased signal intensities on T1-weighted spin-echo images. Twenty-seven (73%) of the 37 patients with type-A changes had low back pain, in contrast to only four (11%) of the 37 patients with type-B changes. Lateral flexion-extension radiographs showed hypermobility in 26 patients (70%) with type-A changes, and in only six (16%) with type-B changes. Type-A changes correlated with segmental hypermobility and low back pain, while type-B changes were more common in patients with stable degenerative disc disease.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bone Marrow / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone Marrow / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / diagnosis*
  • Low Back Pain / etiology
  • Low Back Pain / physiopathology
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / pathology*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / physiopathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography
  • Spinal Diseases / complications
  • Spinal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Spinal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Spinal Diseases / surgery
  • Spinal Fusion