Are back problems inherited

Q: Am I more likely to have back problems because my father and brother have chronic back trouble?

A: Eye color, skin tone and facial features are only a few characteristics we inherit from our parents. The way we walk, our height, posture and other traits and tendencies are also handed down. This may include some structural or functional weaknesses in the spine. Although we have no control over our heredity, we are not always powerless to change the outcome of certain back conditions that we are inclined to develop.

Spinal x-rays reveal that the spines of family members often bear a striking resemblance to each other. Abnormalities and structurally unstable spinal segments are sometimes passed on to offspring. This means that a child who inherits a spinal deformity or irregularity may be prone to developing similar back problems shared by other family members.

This is not to say that we are necessarily destined from birth to develop back trouble later in life. Many back problems that run in families can be minimized or avoided altogether. By knowing the state of your spine and locating any spinal areas likely to become problematic, preventative measures can be applied.

Chiropractors evaluate the spine and determine if there is any trouble with its structure and function. If by heredity or by some other cause, a spinal joint is found to be misaligned, correction can be made. Such spinal adjustments can prevent symptoms from ever occurring (if detection is early) or stop the condition from progressing further.