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LUMBAR X-RAY, CT AND MRI IN ATHLETES: FREQUENCY OF DEGENERATIVE FINDINGS


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Aim: The athletic activity of the adult greek population has increased markedly in the last 30 years. To evaluate the possible long-term effects of such activity on the cervical and lumbar spine, we studied a group of asymptomaticcurrently active lifelong athletes over age 35 (35-65 years old, mean age 55).
Material-Methods: 40 (20 male 50%, 20 female 50%), lifelong athletes from Crete were studied with x-ray, CT, MRI and the results compared with previous imaging studies of other populations. An athletic history and a spine history were also taken. Results: Evidence of asymptomatic degenerative spine disease was similar to that seen in published series of other populations. Degenerative changes including disk protrusion and herniation, spondylosis, and spinal stenosis were present and increased in incidence with increasing patient age. In this group, all findings proved to be asymptomatic and did not limit athletic activity.
Conclusion: The incidence of lumbar degenerative changes in our study population of older male athletes was similar to those seen in other populations.

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