‘Degenerative changes’ do not explain back pain

A patient has persistent back pain and eventually has an MRI scan. This shows ‘degenerative changes’. In the absence of anything more convincing the doctor may attribute the pain to ‘degenerative disc disease’.

All too common – but a study published in the journal Spine in 2009 found that ‘disc degeneration’ was found in 80% of those without back pain and 75% with back pai

‘Degenerative changes’ or ‘degenerative disc disease’ are seldom reasons for back pain – but are often used as an explanation where no other cause is found.