The clinical assessment of transitional vertebrae and back pain
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This study examines the relationship between radiological evidence of lumbar transitional vertebrae (LTV) and the clinical presentation of low back pain (LBP). A retrospective review of 232 consecutive patients presenting at a specialist musculo-skeletal clinic with LBP was conducted. The medical chart for each patient was reviewed for: gender, birth date, symptoms, physical findings, imaging results, and medications prescribed. Subjects were recognized as having a lumbar transitional vertebra if it was noted on their x-ray report. The prevalence of LTV was 9.5 %. This study is consistent with previous research, indicating that the prevalence of LTV is not significantly higher amongst patients with LBP. However, this study also provides further detail about the clinical presentation and management of patients with LTV. The information presented in this study will assist health care professionals in determining the clinical significance of a LTV seen on an x-ray film or noted in a radiologist's report.
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