Q: Can back pain be hereditary and run in the family? I’m 24 and have chronic low back pain. But I found out that my mother, grandmother, and brother also have back pain. None of us were diagnosed with any type of spine condition. So I’m wondering if there is a hereditary/gene link or if it’s just a coincidence? El Paso, TX.
A: Back pain is a very common problem, and it is not uncommon that you and family members have back pain. Every year, 13 million people visit a chiropractor for chronic back pain. I can’t say without further study and research of your family whether the chronic low back pain is directly associated with your genes. But there are studies that support the connection between back pain and genetics.
Back pain caused by a combination of factors
- Environmental factors
Research in the past was difficult to rule out environmental factors like stress, smoking, and diet as the only cause of back pain. But today, there is evidence that shows genetics do have a role in back pain.
Doctors are finding that chronic back pain does show a significant genetic hereditary link. Specifically the development of low spine degenerative disc disease, which is a disc-related condition associated with normal wear and tear.
In fact, several twin sibling studies and genetic marker studies have researched this connection. Below are a couple of studies that stand out in the correlation between back pain and genetics.
Back Pain & Hereditary Genes Studies
A spinal study, which began in 1991, was a multidisciplinary, multinational research project on the cause of disc degeneration. The most significant findings were that there was a substantial influence of genetic/hereditary influence in lumbar disc degeneration.
It identified the specific genes that are associated with disc degeneration. However, environmental factors, work, sports, injuries, etc are also part of the condition, what the study found is that there is a connection of disc degeneration through genetic influences.
A study on genetics and lumbar disc disease found evidence that back pain could run in families. Specifically, lumbar disc disease could be inherited. The severity of the disease could not be determined or a patients’ response to various treatments. But it does suggest that genetics do play a role. Other findings include:
- People that have lumbar disc disease were more likely to have family members with the disease.
- The risk of inheriting the disease increased in both close and distant relatives.
- Research is still ongoing to identify the exact genes that influence disc degeneration and back pain.
And as you said that you or your family have not been diagnosed with a spine condition, this could be something to talk to your doctor or chiropractor about, along with creating a back pain treatment plan. For now, you can do physical therapy, chiropractic massage, CrossFit rehabilitation, etc to reduce and prevent back pain. Hopefully, it is a coincidence, but if it is genetics, not to worry as there is a treatment plan for that as well. But do not wait to make an appointment and let the pain get any worse.
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How to eliminate Back Pain naturally (2020) El Paso, Tx
Lumbar spine disc herniation is a well-known type of injury that often causes impairing low back pain, however, it can also compress the nerve roots in the area and generate radicular pain and other symptoms along the lower extremities, such as altered sensations and muscle weakness.