Background: Most diagnostic imaging of the spine is performed in supine, a relatively unloaded position. Although the spine is subjected to functional loading that changes the spinal alignment and intervertebral disc geometry, little data exists on how healthy spines adapt to standing. This study seeks to quantify the changes of the lumbar spine from supine to standing in young, back-healthy individuals using a positional magnetic resonance imaging system. Methods: This is an observational study that examined the changes in the lumbar spine alignment and intervertebral disc geometry between supine and standing of forty participants (19 males/21 females) without a history of low back pain. The regional lumbar spinal alignment was measured by the sagittal Cobb angle. Segmental intervertebral disc measurements included the segmental Cobb angle, anterior-to-posterior height ratio, and intervertebral disc width measured at L1/L2 - L5/S1 levels. Intra-class correlation was performed for intra- and inter-observer measurements. Findings: The intra-observer intra-class correlation consistency model ranged from 0.76 to 0.98 with the inter-observer correlation ranging from 0.68 to 0.99. The Cobb angle decreased in standing. The L5/S1 segmental Cobb angle decreased in standing. The L2/L3 and L3/L4 anterior-to-posterior height ratios increased and the L5/S1 anterior-to-posterior height ratio decreased in standing. No difference in intervertebral disc widths was observed from supine to standing. Interpretations: We established normative data for a back-healthy population, using a positional magnetic resonance imaging system, that could inform future investigations that examine the standing-induced adaptations of the lumbar spine in individuals with spinal or intervertebral disc pathologies.
- Intervertebral disc
- Positional MRI