The Role of Genetics in Developing Back Pain

Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide. While structural changes in the spine such as herniated discs can contribute to back pain, genetic factors may be involved as well.

Research has shown that a person’s risk for developing back pain is significantly increased if they have a close 2nd or 3rd degree family member who suffers from back pain themselves. This is due to a strong genetic component that can be passed on.

Disc Degeneration

Back pain can be caused by many different factors, including injury, poor posture and disease. However, it’s also very common for back pain to be a result of genetic factors. This is particularly true for people who suffer from a condition known as degenerative disc disease. This condition is the process of one or more spinal discs losing their normal structure and deteriorating to the point where they can no longer absorb shock or provide support. Usually, this occurs in the moving sections of the spine (cervical and lumbar levels) and is generally a normal part of the aging process. However, in some patients this process is accelerated and leads to painful symptoms depending on the complexity of your situation.

Scientists are still trying to figure out what causes this condition, but it’s thought that genes are involved. This is because studies of twins have shown that a number of genetic polymorphisms are linked to the development of disc degeneration and associated back pain. Specifically, genetic polymorphisms that are involved in modulation of pain perception and inflammation have been associated with the development of this condition.

The study of twins has also found that certain genes are linked to the duration of chronic back pain. This is because these particular genes seem to affect the speed at which the body recovers from back pain. This is a good thing, since it means that people who have a higher genetic susceptibility to developing this condition may be able to reduce their risk of chronic back pain by reducing the amount of time they spend suffering from it.

In the study, scientists looked at data from 15 GWAS cohorts in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) consortium and from UK Biobank. Using logistic regression models, the researchers looked at associations between genetic variants and the likelihood of suffering from back pain that persists for more than 3 months. They adjusted for sex, age and study-specific covariates.

The researchers found that 5 genomic regions were associated with chronic back pain, but only three of these associations remained after correction for genomic control and replication in the CHARGE and UK Biobank cohorts (Supplementary Table 2). These associations involve genes that are involved in pain perception, inflammation and tissue degeneration.

Poor Posture

Poor posture can have a direct impact on back pain development. It places extra strain on muscles that support the spine, and can cause a shortening of muscle length, which causes weak muscles to become tight. This tightness can lead to increased fatigue and pain as the muscles are forced to work harder.

Slouching or hunching over for long periods of time places additional pressure on the spinal discs that help to provide shock absorption and support between vertebrae. This added pressure on the discs can increase herniations and aggravate back pain.

Posture can also put increased pressure on the spinal nerves. When a spinal nerve is pinched it can create a condition called sciatica. This can cause lower back pain, leg and foot numbness, and even tingling in the arm or hand. This happens when the nerve is stretched or compressed by a muscle or ligament that is overworking or overstretching.

This overworking or overstretching can also happen when a muscle is used in the same way all day. For example, sitting or standing for long periods of time while working at a desk can create an overuse problem. This overuse can cause the muscles to shorten and can make them more sensitive to the demands of daily activity.

Many people who have a bad habit of slouching are not aware that they are doing this. They may think that they are bending over when they actually are not. This is a form of poor posture that can cause long-term problems, including joint and spinal issues as well as rounded shoulders and a potbelly.

Practicing good posture helps to decrease back and neck pain. This can be done by being mindful of how you sit or stand, and by practicing exercises to strengthen the core muscles that support the spine. It is also a good idea to take small breaks throughout the day and walk around or stretch. This will get the blood moving and can help to prevent poor posture from developing. It is important to see a physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath for more information about how to correct your posture and reduce back pain symptoms.


Back pain is a common cause of disability, and may significantly affect quality of life. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including age, spinal degeneration, and injuries. Many of these factors are related to lifestyle, and can be prevented with exercise and good posture. Occupational factors, such as heavy lifting and working with vibratory tools, can also contribute to back pain. It is important for employers to educate employees on safe lifting techniques and ergonomic modifications.

During an injury, the spine can be subjected to sudden, excessive stress. This can strain muscles and ligaments or cause a disc to herniate. A herniated disk can compress nerves, which causes pain and numbness in the arms or legs. Other spinal conditions that can cause back pain include osteoarthritis, a narrowing of the canal containing the spinal cord (stenosis), abnormal curvature of the spine (scoliosis), or a vertebral slippage (spondylolisthesis).

Acute back pain comes on suddenly and lasts a few days to a few weeks. Subacute back pain develops slowly and lasts from 4 to 12 weeks. Chronic back pain is back pain that occurs daily or that lasts more than a month. It is important to determine the cause of the pain before starting treatment, such as physical therapy or surgery. To do this, the doctor will take a thorough history and perform a physical examination. Imaging tests, such as x-rays, bone scans, and CT or MRI scans, can help identify the source of the pain.

The primary treatment for back pain is pain relievers, such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. In some cases, patients need more intense therapy or surgery to manage pain. Surgery can include spinal injections, fusion, laminectomy, and artificial disc replacement.

People who are distressed due to back pain have poorer outcomes than those who are not. Taking steps to decrease distress can improve outcomes and reduce fear avoidance, which worsens back pain. Treatment strategies for distress can include cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), relaxation, and exercise. Smoking cessation is also advised, as it has a negative impact on back pain.


Stress is a common cause of back pain and can be very difficult to treat. Stress triggers the body’s “fight or flight” mode, which causes the muscles to tighten up. This can result in a painful back, neck or shoulder muscles. It can also cause the person to tense their jaw, which can result in tension headaches. Stress can be caused by a variety of factors, including work, family and financial problems. It can also be caused by prolonged sitting, which can strain the lower back. Those who are chronically stressed have a higher risk of back pain, and those who are suffering from depression or anxiety may have an increased likelihood of developing a recurring back problem.

Studies have shown that certain genes can lead to a person being more or less prone to back pain. The genes responsible for this have been found in both men and women, and are thought to affect how the spinal nerves react to pain and inflammation. These findings have led to a number of new treatments, including antidepressants and pain relievers. However, researchers are still looking for other genes that can affect the development of back pain.

Genetic predisposition to back pain is one of the strongest predictors for its occurrence. However, there are a number of other factors that can contribute to this condition, such as variation in pain perception and the development of rheumatic diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis.

There are a number of things that can increase the chances of getting back pain, such as smoking, lifting heavy objects or driving vehicles for long periods of time. Back pain can also develop due to some medical conditions, such as spinal osteoarthritis or spondylitis, and compression fractures.

Before diagnosing someone with stress related back pain, it is important for the doctor to rule out any other serious causes of the pain, such as infection or tumors. Once they have excluded all other possible causes, they can then determine if the back pain is indeed due to stress. Stress related back pain is also known as thoracic muscular syndrome (TMS). This concept was developed by Dr. John Sarno, who believes that most cases of back pain are actually rooted in psychological and emotional issues.