Mom or Dad had back pain, and now you do too. Is there a connection? We are all well aware that genetics play a huge role in our health and propensity for developing different conditions. However, back pain is so overwhelmingly common that the thought that it may be hereditary rarely crosses the minds of most. The fact is that, in some cases, genetics very well may play a role. Of course other, environmental and physical factors contribute as well, but research is increasingly indicating that genes are another component, particularly in two important areas:
Degenerative Disc Disease and Genetics
The soft, spongy discs found between vertebrae are crucial for absorbing shock, protecting nerves, and keeping pain at bay. As we age, these discs wear down and may lose a significant amount of their cushioning ability. The effects of this are most often felt in the lumbar region but can occur anywhere throughout the back and neck. Up to 85 percent of the American population over the age of 50 will show some signs of the condition. In a massive research study conducted in Utah, 2 million residents were evaluated. Of those, 1,264 had a diagnosis of disc disease. Further research indicated a high correlation between family history and development of the condition. Those with an immediate family member who suffered from disc disease were four times more likely to develop it themselves. While smaller increases were identified in those with second- or third-degree relatives who had a diagnosis.
Pain Perception and Genetics
A baffling point about degenerative disc disease and even herniated discs is the level of pain it does or does not cause. Some patients are just more strongly impacted than others. Increasingly, researchers are finding evidence to support that genetics not only play a role in who develops the condition, but they may also determine how susceptible we are to pain. Of course, for those with a genetic predisposition to pain, it is not only lower back troubles that are at play. Instead, these patients will find themselves more prone to a host of painful conditions. Even those suffering from fibromyalgia may have their genes to blame, according to scientists.
Treating Hereditary Back Pain
Despite genetic makeup there are still actions that patients can take to lessen the effects of conditions such as degenerative disc disease. Among the more effective options to relieve pain and regain range of motion are chiropractic adjustments and spinal decompression. Even acupuncture, especially for patients suffering from chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia, has consistently been shown to reduce the prevalence of pain.
At SouthEast Chiropractic: The Motion Centers, we are proud to offer all of these treatment options to our patients. When it comes to matters of the spine, there is no more caring and qualified team than our group of physicians. We offer convenient locations in both Gastonia and Belmont. To request an appointment at one of these facilities, click the button below.