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Neck Pain| Low Back Pain| Spinal Degeneration

Posted Sep 18 2008 10:21am 1 Comment

In a study on cervical spine specimens (59-92 years) including C2-C7 levels, it was found that the prevalence of cervical facet joint degeneration was very high in individuals aged 50 years and more, with a tendency to increase in severity with age. All levels of the middle and lower cervical spine were affected to almost the same degree, whereas in the lumbar spine an increase in degeneration towards the lower levels was reported. Also, in the cervical spine in most cases the facet joint cartilage was evenly degenerated all over the joint surface while in the lumbar spine certain regions were reported to be affected predominantly. Least osteophytes were found on the medial border of the facet joints (1).  

A studyon 1,064 unselected women (181 monozygotic and 351 dizygotic twin pairs) was performed to assess genetic and environmental influences on low back and neckpain to examine the extent to which these are explained by structural changes seen on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and psychological and lifestyle variables.   

For all definitions of pain, there was a consistent excess concordance in monozygotic twins when compared with dizygotic twins, equating to a heritability for low backpain in the range of 52-68% and for neckpain in the range of 35-58%.   The strongest associations were between low backpain and MRI change and between neckpain and psychological distress and these associations were mediated genetically.   

It was concluded that genetic factors have an important influence on back and neckpain reporting in women. These factors include the genetic determinants of structural disc degeneration and an individual's inherited tendency toward psychological distress. MRI changes are the strongest predictor of low backpain (2).

(1) Kettler A. Werner K. Wilke HJ. Morphological changes of cervical facet joints in elderly individuals.European Spine Journal. 16(7):987-92, 2007 Jul.

(2) MacGregor AJ. Andrew T. Sambrook PN. Spector TD. Structural, psychological, and genetic influences on lowbackandneckpain: a study of adult female twins.Arthritis & Rheumatism. 51(2):160-7, 2004 Apr 15.

Comments (1)
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I'm trying to find out with increased uptake at c3 and c4 means. I had a cervical discectomy with fusion 10 months ago at c4-c5 and c5 - c6. C3 was never involved before and I had a bone scan last week and the they said there was increased uptake at c3 and c4. I meet with the doc later in the week but I'm kind of freaking out.
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