Prevalence of spondylolysis and its relationship with low back pain in selected population

Sang-Bong Ko, Sang-Wook Lee
Clinics in Orthopedic Surgery 2011, 3 (1): 34-8

BACKGROUND: To determine the prevalence of spondylolysis in a selected population and evaluate the association of spondylolysis with low back pain (LBP). Spondylolysis is widespread in the general population but the prevalence of spondylolysis and its relationship with LBP in the Korean population is controversial.

METHODS: A sample of 855 participants (age, 20 to 86 years) from our medical center who underwent multidetector computed tomography (CT) imaging to assess abdominal and urological lesions were enrolled in this study. The occurrence of LBP requiring medication in the preceding 12 months was evaluated using a self-report questionnaire (a modified Nordic Low Back Pain Questionnaire). The presence of spondylolysis was characterized by CT imaging. Multiple logistic regression models were used to examine the association between spondylolysis and LBP, while adjusting for gender and age.

RESULTS: Seventy-eight study subjects (9%) demonstrated spondylolysis on CT imaging. There was no significant difference between the age groups (p = 0.177). The p-value of gender was 0.033 but this was not significant due to the selected population bias. Three hundred eleven study subjects (36%) had back pain. There was a significant difference between gender (p = 0.001). No significant association was identified between spondylolysis and the occurrence of LBP.

CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of LBP was 36.37% and the prevalence of lumbar spondylolysis in a selected population, who visited hospital for abdominal or urological lesions except LBP, was 9.12% based on CT imaging. Males demonstrated a similar presence of LBP to females but a significantly higher incidence of spondylolysis (p = 0.033). The prevalence of spondylolysis was not associated with the presence of LBP and age in adulthood.

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