Saturday, April 19, 2008

Genetics May Determine if An Individual Will Suffer From Degenerative Disc Disease

A Finnish study, known as The Twin Spine study, began in 1991 as an ongoing study that would evaluate back pain among six hundred individuals who were either identical or fraternal male twins. What they discovered with regard to degenerative disc disease was that the disease might be caused by genetics rather than physical exertion, wear and tear, or stress to the spine. Of course, this flies in the face of conventional theories about degenerative disc disease.

Researchers stated that when they evaluated twins who had differing lifestyle with regard to occupational and leisure time physical activity, there was no difference with regard to the onset of degenerative disc disease. This means that the twin who lived a very sedentary lifestyle was just as likely to have degenerative disc disease as the twin who was working in an occupation that demanded more physical activity (lifting, driving, carrying, etc.).

In fact, the study found that not only did the twins suffer from degenerative disc disease at the same time, their objective medical testing indicated that they also were experiencing degenerative disc disease at the same spinal levels with similar severity.

What will this mean with regard to treatment options for individuals who are suffering from this disease? Most orthopedists welcome the findings of this study, because it allows for the development of new theories for beneficial treatment, perhaps even genetic based treatments for degenerative disc disease.

Degenerative disc disease is one of the most costly health problems facing modern nations, and back pain is second only to headaches as a pain location. It has been estimated that four out of five individuals will suffer from some sort of back pain in their lifetimes.

Consequently, any new treatment methods for this condition will be of great benefit to those individuals who suffer with back pain related to degenerative disc disease.

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