Association of Modic change types and their short tau inversion recovery signals with clinical characteristics : a cross sectional study of chronic low back pain patients in the AIM-study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 2020, 21 . 10.1186/s12891-020-03381-4
Background - Modic Changes (MCs, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) signal changes in the vertebral bone marrow extending from the vertebral endplate) may represent a subgroup of nonspecific chronic low back pain that could benefit from a specific management. The primary aim was to compare clinical characteristics between patients with type 1 versus type 2 MCs. The secondary aim was to explore associations between clinical characteristics and MC related short tau inversion recovery (STIR) signals. Methods - This cross-sectional study used baseline data prospectively collected between 2015 and 2017 on the 180 patients included in the AIM-study (Antibiotics In Modic changes), a randomized controlled trial in a Norwegian hospital out-patient setting of patients with chronic low back pain, a lumbar disc herniation within the last 2 years, low back pain intensity score ≥ 5 (on a 0–10 scale) and current type 1 or type 2 MCs at the previously herniated lumbar disc level. We used prespecified clinical characteristics including self-report measures, physiologic measures and functional measures from clinical history and examination. The diagnostic accuracy of various clinical characteristics to discriminate between patients with type 1 MCs (with or without additional type 2 MCs) and patents with type 2 MCs only (not type 1) were assessed by calculating the area under the receiver-operating curve. We assessed the correlations of clinical characteristics with details of MC related STIR signal increase. Results - No clinical characteristic differed between patients with type 1 (n = 118) versus type 2 (but not type 1) (n = 62) MCs. The clinical characteristics showed no/minor differences or no/weak correlations with MC related STIR signal increase. Patients with a positive Springing test (at any lumbar level) had slightly less volume of STIR signal increase than those with a negative test (mean difference 1.3 on a 0–48 scale, 95% CI 0.3 to 2.3). Conclusion - Clinical characteristics were similar for patients with type 1 MCs and patients with type 2 MCs, and showed no clinically relevant correlations with MC related STIR signal increase.