“The results of this study provide evidence based on a population of more than two million people, indicating that there is likely a genetic component in the development of this disease,” said study author Alpesh A. Patel, FACS, assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at the University of Utah School of Medicine. “Additionally, the factors that differentiate a symptomatic disc from a non-painful disc may also be affected by genetics,” he added. The study looked at almost two million Utah residents who were a part of the Utah Population Database, a public information database including health and genealogic reports, along with data from the University of Utah Health Sciences Center data warehouse. Only the symptomatic lumbar disc patients or people with three generations of genealogical data were included in the research, the researchers revealed. The Genealogical Index of Familiarity, a method used to find out the average relatedness of the patients with expected relatedness in the general population, was used in order to evaluate the level of relatedness in the participants.
The study implications
It was found that the participants suffering from lumbar disc disease were much more likely to have family members suffering from disc disease. “Excess relatedness of affected individuals and elevated risks to both near and distant relatives were observed, strongly supporting a heritable contribution to the development of symptomatic lumbar disc disease,” the authors wrote. Also, the relative risk for lumbar disc disease was quite high in the case of close and distant relatives. “Although excess risk in the immediate family might indicate evidence of a genetic contribution, it could also simply indicate shared environment risks or household exposure that may be contributing to the disease,” Patel noted. The study has been published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS).
Symptomatic lumbar disc disease
Also known as the degenerative disc disease, lumbar disc disease is a common problem that can cause severe constant chronic pain. The pain, initiating from lower back area, can progress towards hips, buttocks, shoulders, arms, hands, and thighs. The disease can be treated easily with the kelp of surgery or physical therapy, chiropractic manipulative therapy (CMT) and other chiropractic treatments, osteopathic manipulation in some cases.
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