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How Modic Type I Changes Affect Your Spine!

Modic Type I Changes in Patients with Degenerative Disc Disease and Slipped Disc (Herniated or Protruded spinal discs)

Over the years we have seen many patients who presented with Modic Type I changes in their spine. Most had questions as to what it is and what it meant when it comes to recovery. The presence of Modic changes along with questions that we have received are the key reasons why we decided to write about Modic Type I changes on our website. Our goal is to provide our patients with the best non-surgical spine and joint care. And as such, we believe that providing our patients with access to information about their illness or conditions that may accompany an illness is beneficial. Modic Type I changes is a common condition seen in slipped disc (herniated or protruded spinal disc) patients. We hope the information provided here is helpful.

What is a Modic Type I Changes?

Modic Type I

Changes in the vertebral subchondral bone marrow can be picked up by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The Modic Type I are the changes seen in the end-plate (thin cartilaginous structures that attach the spinal disc to spinal bone) and the bone marrow signals. These changes have a strong relationship with degenerative disc disease and low back pain.

Those with a symptomatic back (back Pain), radicular pain or sciatica like sensations are more likely to present with Modic changes in the lumbar spine. Younger general population with no history of a lower back condition has a much lower percentage of presenting with Modic changes. Modic Type I changes are more likely associated with a symptomatic presentation of the lower back.

Modic Type I

Before we get started, it might be helpful to relate that there are three different types of Modic changes. Type I, II and III. The type I Modic changes is a representation of an acute inflammatory process, often seen in patients with degenerative disc disease.  Contrary to the common belief, a degenerated disc is an unhealthy disc that predisposes one to more sinister forms of spinal disc disorder. Degenerative disc disease can be painful as with degenerations; the spinal disc may tear or worse slip (bulge, herniate, protrude or prolapse), leading to a symptomatic lower back condition.

What are the MRI Findings in Modic Type I Changes?

Modic Type I changes are shown as decreased signal intensity on T-1 weighted MRI images and increased intensity on T-2 weighted MRI images. Type I Modic changes are the result of inflammatory processes in the subchondral (bone attachment points to end-plate and spinal discs). Modic Type I changes cause fissures in the vertebral endplates. The vertebral end-plate is a thin cartilaginous structure that attaches the spinal disc to the subchondral bone (vertebrae or spinal bone). Tears of the vertebral end-pate have been thoroughly studied and confirmed through histological examination of Modic Type I changes.

Modic Type I

Modic Type I changes are inflammatory disorders that can progress quite rapidly, deforming the intervertebral disc and adjacent vertebral bodies. These changes are more commonly found in the anterior third of the superior endplates of the middle lumbar spine in people with no lower back pain. However, these changes can be found in both the superior and inferior endplates and are distributed more evenly and to a larger extent in people with the symptomatic lower back condition.

What is the common site for a Modic Type I Changes?

The Modic Type I changes are more commonly noted in the lower segments of the lumbar spine in people with lower back pain and those with sciatica. The presence of Type I Modic changes is often associated with poor outcome in patients with low back pain as there is persistence acute inflammatory process.

It is proposed that degenerative disc disease without the presence of Modic Type I changes will progress much slower. As Type I Modic changes progress into Type II Modic changes, there is a decrease in the intensity of low back pain and other radicular symptoms.

What is the best treatment option for those that have Modic Type I Changes?

In our centers, we pay particular attention to the Modic changes. Modic type I, Modic Type II, Modic Type III will impact the kind of care you receive as well as the frequency and length of treatments. Unlike others, our methods are based on recent research, and as such, when we treat patients with a Modic Type I changes, chances of recovery is better.

Our research-based clinical teams of Chiropractors and Physiotherapists have the skills, knowledge, and technology to treat even the most challenging spinal disc disorder. Patients that have a Modic Type I, II or III changes will certainly require a diagnosis based treatment that targets the entire joint complex (muscles, ligaments, spinal discs, spinal end-pate and spinal bones). In other words, for a patient to recover, the care they receive must be comprehensive. When it comes to Modic Type I changes, the importance of a holistic care is paramount.

The best and most comprehensive (holistic) means of treating patients with Modic changes is through NSD Therapy protocols. NSD Therapy is a multifaceted method of integrative treatments offered by our clinical teams of physiotherapists and chiropractors in Malaysia. The most critical component of NSD Therapy is treatments rendered through the RxDecom. The RxDecom is the most advanced form of spinal decompression therapy. Goals of treatments through the RxDecom and NSD Therapy methods is to increase blood flow to the damaged and malfunctional spinal discs, vertebral end-pates, and soft tissues surrounding spinal joints. Visit one of our centers to discover the benefits of a targeted, comprehensive treatments backed with advanced technology.

References Used:
  1. Järvinen J, Karppinen J, Niinimäki J, et al. Association between changes in lumbar Modic changes and low back symptoms over a two-year period. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 2015;16:98. doi:10.1186/s12891-015-0540-3.
  2. Nguyen C, Jousse M, Poiraudeau S, Feydy A, Rannou F. Intervertebral disc and vertebral endplate subchondral changes associated with Modic 1 changes of the lumbar spine: a cross-sectional study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 2017;18:34. doi:10.1186/s12891-017-1407-6.

The above citations are our research sources for Modic Type I changes.

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