Thursday, September 29, 2011

Is Chronic Pain Genetic?

Those suffering from chronic pain can often name others in their family who suffer from the same or similar type of chronic pain.  Researchersat The University of Utah have investigated this phenomenon.  In a large-scale study analyzing data regarding chronic back pain, taken from over one million Utah citizens, the researchers discovered some interesting results.  Chronic back pain does indeed seem to be related, or exacerbated by, genetic factors.  If someone in your immediate family (parents or siblings) has chronic back pain, you are over four times more likely to experience chronic pain as a result of a back injury.  Additionally, having a second-degree relative (aunts, uncles, or grandparents) or third-degree relatives (cousins) that also suffer from chronic back pain will increase your likelihood of suffering from chronic back pain as well.  All of these differences were found after environmental factors, such as smoking, exercise, and career choice (manual labor versus desk job, for instance) were taken into consideration.  It is important to note that this study only focused on chronic back pain as a result of a degenerating or herniated disc; however, this leads the door open for other scientists to research the relationship between other forms of chronic pain and familial likelihood of contracting the same pain problems. 

Chronic pain, especially back pain, is common after a wide variety of accidents and injuries, such as car accidents or slip and fall accidents.  It is very important to monitor your pain and consult with a knowledgeable physician if you suspect that you may have a case of chronic pain. 

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer located in Altoona, PA.  For more information on him and his firm, please click here.

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