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Disc degeneration on MRI is more prevalent in young elite skiers compared to controls.

Journal article
Authors Wisam Witwit
Peter Kovac
Anna Swärd
Cecilia Agnvall
Carl Todd
Olof Thoreson
Hanna Hebelka
Adad Baranto
Published in Knee surgery, sports traumatology, arthroscopy : official journal of the ESSKA
Volume 26
Issue 1
Pages 325-332
ISSN 1433-7347
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Radiology
Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Orthopaedics
Pages 325-332
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00167-017-4545-...
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.f...
Subject categories Orthopedics

Abstract

Evidence-based facts regarding spine abnormalities and back pain are needed in order to develop rehabilitation programs and prevent spine injuries in young skiers. The aim therefore is to identify MRI changes in the thoraco-lumbar spine and the lifetime prevalence of back pain, as well as the association between them, in young skiers compared to non-athletes.Seventy-five young elite alpine and mogul skiers, age range 16-20 years, were compared with 27 non-athletic controls. All subjects underwent spinal MRI and answered back pain questionnaires.Fifty-six percent of skiers had at least one disc Pfirrmann grade ≥3 compared to 30% of controls (p = 0.027). Schmorl's nodes (46%) and disc height reduction (37%) were significantly more prevalent in skiers compared to controls (0%) (p < 0.001). When all parameters were combined together, skiers had significantly higher rate of radiological changes than controls, 82% compared to 54% (p = 0.007). The mean number of discs with Pfirrmann grade ≥3 was 1.1 per individual in skiers (median 1, range 0-6) versus 0.6 in controls (median 0, range 0-3). There was no significant difference in lifetime prevalence of back pain between skiers (50%) and controls (44%) (n.s.). MRI abnormalities in skiers did not correlate with lifetime prevalence of back pain. Skiers had a better health perception than controls (p = 0.026).Alpine skiers have more degenerative disc changes compared to non-athletes, but these changes do not correlate with the lifetime prevalence of back pain. Lifetime prevalence of back pain is not significantly different between the groups; however, skiers report more severe pain on VAS score.II.

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