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. 1998 Sep 1;23(17):1868-73; discussion 1873-4.
doi: 10.1097/00007632-199809010-00014.

Degenerative Displacement of Lumbar Vertebrae. A 25-year Follow-Up Study in Framingham

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Degenerative Displacement of Lumbar Vertebrae. A 25-year Follow-Up Study in Framingham

L I Kauppila et al. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). .

Abstract

Study design: The authors assessed degenerative lumbar displacement in a population-based cohort of 217 men and 400 women who had lateral lumbar radiographs performed at the mean age of 54 years and again at 79 years, and who had completed interviews on back symptoms and functional performance in connection with the follow-up examination.

Objectives: To assess the prevalence and incidence of degenerative slippage and its association with back pain and physical disability.

Summary of background data: Degenerative displacement of lumbar vertebrae may cause instability, nerve root compression, and spinal stenosis. Its incidence in the older population and association with back pain and disability are unknown.

Methods: The authors assessed the prevalence and incidence of degenerative slippage from lateral lumbar radiographs performed 25 years apart and its association with back pain and physical disability from interviews performed in connection with the follow-up examination.

Results: At the follow-up examination, 23 (12%) men and 100 (25%) women had developed degenerative slippage exceeding 3 mm; two of them had this already at the baseline. A forward displacement was found in 8 men and 76 women (P < 0.0001 for difference between the genders) and a backward one in 16 men and 35 women. On average, forward slip was 18% +/- 5.5, and backward slip, 15% +/- 4.0 of the anteroposterior diameter of the vertebra below. At the time of the second lumbar radiograph, 39 (32%) of the subjects with slippage, compared with 90 (19%) of the controls, had pain, aching, or stiffness in their back on most days (P = 0.001). After adjustment for endplate sclerosis, which was also related to pain (P = 0.015), slippage still had association with daily back symptoms (P = 0.009). However, subjects with slippage had not experienced more back symptoms during the preceding year or in earlier ages of life, and they did not report more disability than the controls.

Conclusions: Degenerative displacement of lumbar vertebrae is common in an older population and is associated with increased prevalence of daily back symptoms. However, two thirds of the subjects with degenerative displacement do not report ongoing back symptoms, and the disorder is also unrelated to long-term back pain and physical disability.

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