There have been reported instances of twins experiencing the same kind of back pain. This is just one of the arguments in support of a possible connection between back pain and heredity. Recent research suggests that certain diseases of the spine resulting in disc degeneration or herniation, common causes of lower back pain, may also have a genetic link.
A Possible ‘Back Gene’
Researchers have identified a gene (PARK2) that appears to have a link to lower back pain. Specially, the gene could affect the rate of disc degeneration. Since it’s a gene that everybody has, it’s actually the behavior of the gene itself that could be responsible for the acceleration of lumbar disc generation in some patients with lower back pain.
Environmental and Lifestyle Triggers
Environmental and lifestyle choices, such as diet and how much exercise an individual gets on a regular basis, may, according to researchers and back doctors, trigger genetic modifications. Certain genes that help protect the back are “switched off,” resulting in increased susceptibility for developing certain types of back pain.
Immediate and Distant Hereditary Links
Having an immediate family member – such as a brother, sister, parent or child – with a degenerative disc condition presents more of a risk than having a distant relative who may have a history of back pain. Researchers note that it’s not unusual for complaints of persistent back pain to run in families. Granted, some of these similarities may be due to family members being in the same line of work or participating in similar activities like playing the same sport.
Not all back pain is genetic. Sciatica, for instance, is not passed down genetically. Researchers are hoping that identifying genetic links to back pain can help identify patients who may be at risk early enough to minimize or better control inherited back problems.
Interested in Learning More?
If you are researching back pain because you or a loved one is experiencing pain in the lumbar or cervical spine, reach out to The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration in Santa Monica, CA. Our team of trusted spine specialists and back surgeons in Santa Monica can help determine the cause of your pain, and thus provide you with the most effective and safe treatment options. Call 310-828-7757 and request an in-person consultation today.