Genetic makeup rather than lifestyle may play an important role in the development of back pain as researchers at King's College London have identified a gene linked to disc problems that lead to back pain.
The researchers analyzed MRIs of more than 4,600 people and identified a gene known as PARK2 that is linked to age-related disc problems.
The researchers said that PARK2 gene was responsible for lumbar disc degeneration (LDD) in which the discs get dehydrated and lose height, leading to the vertebrae developing boney growths known as osteophytes that lead to lower back pain. The study has been published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases.
"We know that people whose discs wear out are at increased risk of episodes of lower back pain, but normal human discs are hard to get hold of to study so until now our knowledge of normal human biology was incomplete. Further work by disc researchers to define the role of the PARK2 gene will, we hope, shed light on one of most important causes of lower back pain", lead researcher Dr Frances Williams said.