This is what I found researching Modic changes - I am in this position, and it scares me... I copied and pasted, I did not add anything to this documentation.
Diagnosing modic changes
Modic changes can only be seen on a magnetic resonance imaging, an MRI. Modic changes were first described and separated into 3 different types of changes by Dr. Michael Modic in 1988.
Normal bone consists of an internal scaffolding of bone, called trabeculae. In the hollows between the trabeculae is red bone marrow, which produces blood cells.
• In Modic type 1 the trabeculae are fractured in many places, the trabeculae are shorter and broader and the “scaffolding” pattern is unstructured and uneven. The marrow is substituted by serum, the same clear liquid that is inside a blister.
• In Modic type 2 changes the trabeculae are also fractured in many places, but are shorter and broader and the "scaffolding" pattern is unstructured and uneven. With Modic type 2 changes the marrow is substituted by visceral fat, the same kind of fat we have on our hips and bellies.
• Modic Changes type 3 are rare, and it is bone scar tissue.
 Modic changes and pain
Many studies[which?] have examined the relationship between Modic changes in the vertebrae in the spine and pain in the lower back. There is a very strong correlation between having Modic changes, especially Modic changes type 1, and suffering from pain in the lower back.
Studies[which?] have shown that patients with Modic changes are rather different from other patients with normal back pain. For example 75 –80 % of patients suffering from Modic changes have constant pain, which means they do not ever have a pain-free moment day or night. There might be fluctuations in the intensity, but no break from the pain. 75% of the patients also suffers from pain during the night, and many wake up during the night because it is painful to turn in bed.
It is difficult to treat patients with Modic changes. Treatment that normally cures or help patients with normal back pain does not have effect on Modic changes or pain from Modic changes.
The recommended treatment for long lasting pain in the lower back is exercises, normally aided by the instruction of a qualified physiotherapist. This is often followed by muscle strengthening and fitness training. This treatment does help the vast majority of normal back pain patients. But studies[which?] have shown that patients with Modic changes showed much higher pain score than patients with normal back pain, and most importantly that their pain increased with training.