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[Clinical characteristics and treatment for patients with low back and leg pain caused by lumbar annular tears]

OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether annular tears is a cause of low back and radiating leg pain and explore the clinical characteristics and treatment for patients with this condition. METHODS: A total of 34 patients with low back and radiating leg pain, but without lumbar disc herniation on CT (computed tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), were examined by electrophysiological studies and discography to identify whether there were or not annular tears and nerve root injury and decipher the relations between them. The series included 15 males and 19 females with an average age of 45.6 years old and the average duration of symptoms was 25.8 months. All patients with annular tears and positive pain provocation test were treated by local windowing decompression and debridement of nucleus pulposus after failed conservative treatment. The pre- and post-operative functions and pain were evaluated by JOA (Japanese Orthopedic Association) and VAS (visual analog scale) scores respectively. The average follow-up was 17.4 months. RESULTS: The clinical manifestations included low back and radiating leg pain, intermittent claudication and nerve root injury. No significant abnormalities were discovered on X-ray and CT scan. T2W images of magnetic resonance demonstrated a low intensity or black disc in all patients and high-intensity zone (HIZ) (n = 21). Electromyography showed nerve root injury (n = 27). Abnormality of conduction velocities of common peroneal nerve (n = 7) and tibial nerve (n = 3) were found. Thirty-four patients with 38 discs displayed pain reproduction on contrast injection during discography and the sites of annular tears were confirmed on CT scan after discography. Pre- and post-operative average JOA scale score was 8.7 points and 13.5 points, the recovery ratio 76.2% and the excellent and good outcomes 88.2%. Pre- and post-operative average VAS score was 8.6 points and 2.8 points. And the recovery rate was 80.5%. CONCLUSION: The annular tears result in low back and radiating leg pain. And the typical characteristics are low back and radiating leg pain, intermittent claudication and nerve root injury. MRI and electrophysiological studies play an important role in diagnosing this condition. Lumbar discography is the decisive method and prerequisite of selecting surgery. Local windowing decompression and debridement of nucleus pulposus is a simple and effective method

Keywords : abnormalities,Adult,Aged,China,diagnosis,Electromyography,etiology,Female,Humans,injuries,Intervertebral Disc,Leg,Low Back Pain,Lumbar Vertebrae,Magnetic Resonance Imaging,Male,methods,Middle Aged,Pain,Spine,surgery,Tomography,X-Ray Computed,, Characteristics,Treatment, can bad posture cause back pain

Date of Publication : 2010 Dec 7

Authors : Sheng WB;Guo HL;Mai ED;Pu LT;Zhan YL;Jin GL;Deng Q;Zheng XF;Xun CH;Xu T;Tian J;

Organisation : Department of Spine Surgery, Xinjiang Medical University, Urumuqi 830054, China. Email: wbsheng_xjmu@hotmail.com

Journal of Publication : Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi

Pubmed Link : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21223767

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