Correlation between intervertebral disc degeneration, paraspinal muscle atrophy, and lumbar facet joints degeneration in patients with lumbar disc herniation.BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2017 04 20; 18(1):167.BM
To assess the correlation between lumbar disc degeneration (LDD), multifidus muscle atrophy (LMA), and facet joints degeneration in patients with L4-L5 lumbar disc herniation (LDH).
Sixty patients with L4-L5 LDH diagnosed by a 1.5 T MRI scanner were enrolled in the study group and another 60 patients with non-specific back pain were enrolled in the control group. LDD, LMA, and facet joints degeneration were examined and analyzed independently by two independent orthopedic surgeons using T2-weighted images. Wilcoxon test was used for analyzing the difference of LDD and facet joints degeneration between L3-L4 and L5-S1 and difference of LMA between the herniated and control groups. Correlation analysis of the three degeneration grades at the same level was determined by Spearman rank correlation test.
In the herniated group, most LMA at L3-L4 level was grade 1 (42, 70.0%); grade 2 (33, 55.0%) at L4-L5 level; and grade 3 (27, 45.0%) at L5-S1 level. LMA and LDD grading were significantly different between L3-L4 and L5-S1 levels (P < 0.05). In the herniation group, the Spearman value for LDD and LMA grading were 0.352 (P < 0.01) at L3-L4 and 0.036 (P > 0.05) at the L5-S1 level. The differences in LMA between the herniated and control groups at the three levels were significant (P < 0.05).
Disc degeneration and multifidus muscles atrophy were positively correlated at the L3-L4 disc level. A lumbar extension muscle strengthening program could be helpful in preventing muscle atrophy and lumbar spinal degeneration.