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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Does elite swimming accelerate lumbar intervertebral disc degeneration and increase low back pain? A cross-sectional comparison

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PURPOSE: The aim was to elucidate elite swimming's possible influence on lumbar disc degeneration (DD) and low back pain (LBP).

METHODS: Lumbar spine MRI was performed on a group of elite swimmers and compared to a matched Finnish population-based no-sport group.

RESULTS: One hundred elite swimmers and 96 no-sport adults, mean age 18.7/20.8, respectively, participated. Overall, the two groups had similar prevalence of DD. Swimmers had more DD in the upper lumbar spine but tended to have less DD at the lowest level. Prevalence of bulges and disc herniations were similar, but swimmers had significantly more bulges at L4-5. The swimmers reported less LBP, although not significantly (N.S.). If degenerative findings were present, the association between them and LBP was stronger in the no-sport group.

CONCLUSION: Elite swimmers and controls had similar prevalence of DD and LBP, although the pattern of DD differed between the groups. In case of DD, swimmers reported less LBP, although N.S.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean spine journal : official publication of the European Spine Society, the European Spinal Deformity Society, and the European Section of the Cervical Spine Research Society
Volume25
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)2849-55
Number of pages7
ISSN0940-6719
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

ID: 49150696