Is Back Pain Heredity?
You understand that back pain may result from multiple causes, including improper lifting, trauma and emotional distress, but can hereditary factors also play a role in back pain?
Certain spine conditions appear to be passed genetically from generation to generation. These include:
- Scoliosis – Abnormal spinal curves that run side to side, rather than front to back curves. Heredity is responsible for a 25% greater chance of developing abnormal spinal curves.
- Degenerative disc disease, disc herniation – A difference in the chemical properties of some people’s disks may render them more prone to fragmentation or herniation, conditions that trigger back pain.
- Osteoarthritis – Caused by the erosion of cartilage in spinal joints as a result of the aging process. A genetic predisposition for this condition is often passed down from the mother’s side of the family.
- Osteoporosis – Loss of bone mass that tends to occur mostly in older, post-menopausal women – the result of decreased estrogen production.
- Spondylolisthesis – A defect in a vertebra that may cause the vertebra to shift forward, out of alignment with the rest of the spinal column. This condition may result from a fracture and a genetic abnormality may predispose someone to a thin vertebra in the lumbar spine.
- Obesity-related back pain – Extra body weight adds undue pressure to the spine and increases the amount of pain associated with any existing back condition.
- Psychiatric-related back pain – Although the pain is real, it is caused by emotional and mental factors such as anger, guilt, resentment, fear and anxiety. The mind-body connection is very powerful and often personality traits and emotional issues are passed down to one’s children.
Prevention of back pain resulting from these conditions is easier if you are aware that older family members suffer from them in the first place. It is best to avoid activities that add stress to your spine. Routine chiropractic check ups can help to identify problem areas that need to be addressed and can often help support these common genetic predispositions.