Atherosclerosis & Disc Degeneration & Back Pain

The aim of this 2009 systematic review was to assess associations between atherosclerosis and degenerative disc disease (DDD) or LBP. They identified 179 relevant studies and of those 25 papers were included.

(Did you even know that there were that many studies on this rarely spoken topic…diet, cholesterol, atherosclerosis and back pain???!!)

Conclusion #1: Post-mortem studies showed an association between atherosclerosis in the aorta and DDD.

(So DDD is NOT just related to ‘old age’, perhaps by controlling atherosclerosis through proper nutrition and exercise, we can influence DDD!)

Conclusion #2: Post-mortem studies also showed a strong association between occluded lumbar arteries and a life-time of LBP.

(Sadly, only when the patients had passed away, it is realized their chronic LBP was likely due to vascular issues and NOT mechanical or related to psychosocial issues!)

Conclusion #3: Epidemiological studies showed that smoking and high serum cholesterol levels were the most consistent associations with DDD and LBP.

(And all this time we dwell on the abdominal strength of a patients with a pot belly and LBP, when we should tell them to stop smoking and avoid eating ‘fast foods’, eat 5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables, consume Omega 3s in fish oil and most importantly, EXERCISE …
as it is the best way to reduce your cholesterol, high blood pressure and back pain!)

Posted on: August 17, 2009

Categories: Lumbar Spine

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