A 2012 study in England found a link between lumbar disc degeneration (LDD) and the PARK2 gene. Since then, subsequent research has provided added proof of the role of genetics in the development of spine disorders. Environmental and lifestyle factors can also determine whether or not certain genes are activated, suggesting the importance of taking preventative steps to minimize the risk of spine-related pain. Beverly Hills spine surgeons discuss a few spine conditions that may be caused by genetics and offer tips on minimizing your risk.
Identifying Genetic Patterns
Affecting approximately 80 percent of the population at one time or another, back pain is fairly common. This prevalence can make it difficult to pinpoint specific genetic patterns.
Conditions with a possible genetic link include:
- Lumbar disc degeneration: Based on results of a 20-year, multi-nation study, researchers have agreed with the findings of the British study on LDD, concluding genetics is a contributing factor.
- Spondylolisthesis: African-American women are 3 times more likely to have this condition where one bone slides forward and over the adjacent bone below it.
- Ankylosing spondylitis: Several genes have been identified as possibly being linked to this form of chronic inflammatory arthritis that mainly affects the spine.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: The gene linked to rheumatoid arthritis, which sometimes affects the back and neck, is more common in Caucasian people with European ancestry.
Minimizing Contributing Factors
Genetics is just one of many factors that can determine how back pain is experienced. Numerous studies confirm a link between getting regular exercise (at least 2 1/2 hours per week of light-to-moderate activity is the standard recommendation) and maintaining a balanced diet. It’s also important to pay attention to:
- Posture and body alignment
- Sleep habits and patterns
- Daily stress levels
Being genetically predisposed to back pain doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to face the same spine disorders that run in your family. Even conditions like spinal stenosis, scoliosis, and spondylolysis can often be managed by being mindful of diet and exercise and other lifestyle factors. Speak with a board-certified spine surgeon to determine what steps you need to take to maintain a healthy spine.
To learn about lumbar artificial disc replacement and other treatments for spine disorders, get in touch with The Spine Institute Center in Beverly Hills. Our team of experienced surgeons can discuss your options for surgery or non-surgical alternative treatments. Call 310-828-7757 today to schedule a consultation.