Effect of bone mineral density on lumbar discs in young adults: A case–control study

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Bone mineral density (BMD) might be a risk factor for lumbar disc herniation (LDH) in young adults, but there is not enough data concerning this effect. Several studies have been performed on elderly and osteoporotic patients. Thus, we aimed to investigate the effect of BMD on the etiopathogenesis of LDH in young adults.

One hundred patients (mean age: 38.45 ± 8.92 years; 50 men and 50 women) were enrolled this case–control study and classified into 2 groups, as follows. The case group (G-I) included 50 patients with symptomatic LDH who were hospitalized in the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinic, and the control group (G-II) included 50 patients with lower back pain but no finding of LDH detected using magnetic resonance imaging. Patients in the G-II were recruited among those admitted to the outpatient clinic at the time of the study, and whose age and sex were matched to those of the study group. Women in menopause were excluded from the study. BMD analysis by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry was performed in both groups.

The mean values of the femur neck and lumbar spine BMD were 1.02 ± 0.13 and 1.19 ± 0.14 g/cm2, respectively. There was no statistically significant relationship between BMD and LDH in this population.

This result may mean that in a normal range, BMD does not exert a compressive load on the lumbar discs in young adults and therefore may not lead to LDH by this mechanism and the load.

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