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how many have back problems due to heredity?

Not sure where to post this, but I've always wondered about how much heredity plays a part in spine problems. My problems began in 1998 (cervical) not due to an injury - and progressed to lumbar two years ago. My mother had two spine surgeries in the '70's - but made a complete recovery from both. But she was in the hospital for approx. ten (?) days after each surgeries. she was also a smoker.


  • I'm told my issues are hereditary, yes. My mother and grandfather have had serious spine issues, too.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,848
    I've done some research in this area and have talked with many doctors. The consensus is that no one really has a definitive answer. But no one can also deny that there is a connection within one's family. Can back problems be associated with one's hereditary, meaning its in your genes and probably can not be avoided, or is it familial which is associated more with the environment and lifestyle within a given family.

    I personally think it is more familial than anything.

    I had the first of my spinal surgeries when I was 28, my father had the first of his three lumbar surgeries when he was 67..
    So, I can't see any connection here. If it was more hereditary would think the situation would have been reversed.
    My daughter has not had spinal surgery , yet , but she is dealing with two herniated lumbar discs. First one when she was 25. But that I see due more to her lifestyle when it came to sports. I was always an aggressive player no matter what sport I played. My daughter was always the same. I know sports played a key role in my deteriorating spine and I also know the same for my daughter.

    But can we really prove anything?

    I think that is why you (buffgirl23) started a very interesting thread.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • A few years ago my PM wanted to double check that I wasn't suffering from Rheumatoid arthritis. Although I was first diagnosed with Osteoarthritis at a young age & these tests had been done in England I agreed to check it out. When the rheumatologist walked into the room our common accent stopped us getting to business. He was from England & we had lived in the same area! This became the subject of conversation. My health wasn't mentioned at all. When he was buzzed for his next appointment we had to get down to business fast. He said he would run the tests as requested but could assure me that I had hereditary osteoarthritis. He knew nothing of my case, he'd just been looking at my hands while we spoke. It had been an area of study for him. All of my life I've been told this.

    Although my parents are a great couple in so many ways, genetically it's the 'perfect storm'. When they were first dating my Dad had to reveal his 'funny turns', as he started to describe them my Mum was amazed. My Grandmother suffered with the exact same thing! It looks like a diabetic fit. Pain is guaranteed to produce one but they can also come 'out of the blue'.

    Visiting older relatives on both sides of my family was always the same. The (not blood relative) partner would open the door & show us through to the sitting room where our relative lived in a chair. The only time they got up was to use the bathroom, with assistance. I come from a long line of chair sitters. When recliners became available they all ended-up with one! My Mum remembers as a child collecting prescriptions for codeine & delivering them to her grandparents & aunts & uncles who all lived within walking distance of each other. My fathers family self medicated down the pub more but it was a similar story. As a child you don't know any different. You simply assume everyone is the same. In their 50's & 60's they were all so old & slow.

    The younger generations have all been very successful people. They live in different areas of the country, live very different life styles but all end-up the same. Some of us have battled it. I have lived on an arthritis diet & done controlled exercise nearly my whole life but the story doesn't change. I've been poked, prodded & studied as have relatives. I hope that modern genetics will give an answer one day.

    In many ways it's a good thing. I read terrible accounts of chronic pain sufferers being heart broken by their dismissive families. I can't imagine being persecuted by family for taking narcotic medications..mine look at my pill bottles & say "is this all they've given you??!?". I have the shining example of my Dad & several uncles & my aunt who all refuse to be armchair dwellers and I have complete understanding because we all watched our strong loved ones broken by this curse.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • EnglishGirlEEnglishGirl Posts: 1,825
    edited 03/18/2014 - 5:42 AM
    Both sides of my family were poor working class people. Before the National Health Service & my parents generation you were lucky to get an X-ray & some medications. My Dad was the first in my family to ever have an MRI. Relatively speaking (ha ha) we're all relying on very new science & it will be fascinating to see what breakthroughs come in the future.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • ron
    my father died from a staph infection of his spine. they thought he pulled a muscle at first. he subsequently became paralyzed then died. after my second fusion, they found an infection on my mri and promptly gave me antibiotics especially after i told the doctor about my dad dying from one.. he had his in 1983 so i think tests and other things are different now. it showed up as white blotches on the mri. very distinctive and apparently there was not question if my dad had it i guess i might have gotten it from him, heridity i mean
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • i've had 2 fusions now due to herniated discs. i had no accidents or acute trauma to cause these discs to herniate. my surgeon told me i had a connective tissue disorder because that was the only thing that would cause them to herniate for no apparent reason. well couple years, and a bunch of doctors later, i have a confirmed diagnosis of an undifferentiated connective tissue disorder.

    in short, an autoimmune disorder, that happened to affect my spine. turns out my mother has hashimoto's which is also autoimmune in nature. And she swears my grandmother had some autoimmune disorder, but she can't remember what it was.

    so definitely hereditary even though the problems were different form generation to generation.
    Microdisectomy / hemi-laminectomy 6/2010 and revision 10/2010
    Cervical fusion C4-5 and C5-6 9/2011
    Lumbar Fusion L5-S1 6/2012
  • And I think that's part of where mine come from. I also attribute it to several falls, being "top heavy" some scholiosis, & a few minor car accidents. Add to that that my problems started 20+ years ago, & I ignored it, & I think this is why I am such a hot mess now at 47 yrs old.
    We can't always control the cards we are dealt in life, but we can control how we play the hand
  • I believe, and have been told by Dr's that mine is hereditary. My back problems got pretty bad at age 16 and I had a Discectomy at age 17. My sister also had a Discectomy at age 17. I was into sports, she was not. We are two very different people. My dad and grandmother have similar back issues also. My other sister has pretty severe scoliosis but no disc issues that we know of. My spine has worsened over the years. Stenosis, osteoarthritis, and 3 herniations. Had my second back surgery just 7 weeks ago and I'm only 29. That to me is not normal "wear and tear" of the spine. I believe there is a hereditary factor.
    Progressive DDD
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
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