Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lower Back Pain: Is It in Your Genes?

Even with all the advances in modern medicine and the sophisticated techniques available to diagnose what's causing low back pain, many times doctors find it incredibly difficult to identify the reason for a patient's pain. Although too much strain may be part of the equation, it isn't always entirely to blame for lower back pain.

However, one interesting explanation as to why one person develops low back pain and another doesn't may lie in their genes. A study published by the journal Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, revealed how for the first time researchers have identified a gene linked to a common cause of lower back pain: a condition known as lumbar disc degeneration (LDD).  A prime example would be if you were to examine identical twins -- one who is doing heavy physical work and the other being a "desk jockey" – you would assume the physical labor to cause significant wear compared to the white-collar sibling. Yet, if you could compare their MRI exams, they would be virtually identical. This tells you that genetic factors are at work.

If you have chronic low back pain, consider the likelihood that you inherited the tendency and if so, you're probably hardwired for it. The lower back contains sensitive receptors called nociceptive fibers, which send pain signals to the brain. Unfortunately for some people, they have a lot of nociceptive fibers -- for example, in their discs -- while others have relatively few. That simple variation could be the discerning factor as to why one person can lift heavy weights many times and never experience low back pain, while another who barely lifts anything is in constant agony.

Whatever the cause or source of your back pain, it is important to seek professional help and to actively maintain a healthy back regimen. Part of this arsenal should include exercise, stretching, proper diet, medical treatment (if warranted), and the use of alternative medical care such as meditation, acupuncture and massage therapy.

I am always curious as to what caused my client’s pain in the first place and what they had been doing to remedy it. I would love to hear what your experience been and if you ever thought your back pain could be genetically inherited. Please let me know by leaving your comment below. I look forward to hearing your story.

As always – enjoy your life.

John Aaron Villarreal


Bio: I am a Houston based, male massage therapist and wellness coach specializing in pain management and health programs for individuals over the age of forty. I laugh - a lot. I'm quirky but sincere. And, while I'm not a counselor, I do listen and I do care: Except for the times that I don't. That’s a joke - Did I mention that I like to laugh? Anyway, visit my website, call or email me and let's get together to talk about you, and the many ways to live life better!

The Legal Stuff: I write to inform, inspire and encourage my readers to enjoy all that life has to offer. The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise, diet or wellness program. 

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