This study is a cross-sectional, case-control study drawn from a prospective cohort of the “Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg/Kooperative Gesundheitsforschung in der Region Augsburg” study (KORA). In total, 374 participants (mean age 56.4 ± 9.2 years; 57.8% male) from the whole-body MRI cohort (FF4) were included. All participants underwent a standardized whole-body MRI on which disc degeneration of the thoracic and lumbar spine was evaluated using a sequence adapted Pfirrmann score. PI, PT, SS and LL were measured according to the description in the literature, using sagittal imaging. Furthermore, disc bulging and protrusion were assessed. Correlations were estimated by logistic regression models providing odds ratios.
Mean PI was 54.0° ± 11.1°, PT 13.0° ± 5.8°, SS 40.2° ± 8.8° and LL 36.2° ± 9.6°. SS was greater in men (p<0.05) and lumbar lordosis in women (p<0.001). PT increased by 0.09° per age-year with rising age. Age was not associated with PI, SS and LL. Neither BMI, hypertension, cholesterol, lipid levels, nor physical activity were associated with PI, PT, SS or LL. Diabetes mellitus negatively correlated with SS (β = -4.19; 95%CI -7.31-1.06, p<0.01). Smaller spinopelvic parameters (PI, SS and LL) where significantly (p<0.05) correlated with an increased frequency of disc bulging, as well as a local clustering in the lumbar, but not the thoracic spine.
In conclusion, spinopelvic parameters, measured in supine position, are significantly correlated with disc bulging alone; there is no significant correlation between supine spinopelvic parameters and disc degeneration, back pain or cardiovascular risk factors.