ZocdocAnswersIs back pain hereditary?

Question

Is back pain hereditary?

If my dad has a lot of trouble with back pain does that mean that I will too? Only 22 now but he is almost sixty and it is just starting so I want to know if I will have back pain when I get to his age too?

Answer

Back pain is a complex medical condition which is partially influenced by genetics. For example, studies have shown that identical twins are more likely to develop some types of back problems then siblings who are not identical twins, which makes a case for genetics. However, there are many other risk factors for developing back pain, and these other risk factors are, in most cases, probably more important than genetics. These risk factors include things like being over weight, smoking, physical strenuous work, and a sedentary life style. Therefore, although the fact that back problems run in your family might put you at slightly higher risk for back problems later in life, in reality these other risk factors (many of which you can do something about), are what I would focus on. Avoiding back problems is something that can often be done by paying attention to regular exercise, quitting smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight. Regardless, you should also discuss this with your primary care doctor. He or she can discuss your lifestyle and check you out for any evidence of emerging back problems. Good luck.

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