Low back pain due to a gene flaw. BBC reports on a study that needs more study

Low back pain due to a gene flaw. BBC reports on a study that needs more study

The BBC reported on study linking a gene to lower back pain. While there is no arguement that genetics plays a part in lower back pain, their suggestion that the discs are defective, without looking at the people who own those lower back discs is shortsighted at best, and can be harmful if this information is taken at face value. Body mechanics are inherited with other features. This is a classic case of a study so small, trying to prove something so trivial, that they miss the big picture attached to the epidemic of lower back pain. Read it here

Gene flaw linked to low back pain

Scientists have identified a gene flaw linked to disc problems that are a common cause of lower back pain.

The UK study, published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, looked at 4,600 people and found the PARK2 gene was linked to age-related disc problems.

A third of middle-aged women have problems with at least one spinal disc – and the condition is known to be inherited in up to 80% of patients.

Experts said finding the gene could lead to new treatments being developed.

Back pain costs the UK about £7bn a year in sickness leave and treatment costs, but the causes of the condition are not fully understood.

In lumbar disc degeneration (LDD), discs become dehydrated and lose height, and the vertebrae next to them develop bony growths called osteophytes, leading to lower back pain.

The King’s College London researchers carried out MRI scans of all those in the study and looked at differences in their genetic make-up.

They found variants of the PARK2 gene appeared to have an effect in people with degenerate discs and influence the speed at which their condition deteriorated.

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