Chronic back pain is the number one cause of years lived with disability worldwide. In a new study, Pradeep Suri of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Seattle, Washington, and colleagues in the United States and Europe, in association with Dr Frances Williams from King's College London's Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, identified three novel genetic variants associated with chronic back pain.
The study, which was published in the open-access journal PLOS Genetics, links the risk for back pain with variants in genes controlling skeletal development, among other pathways.
“The results of our genome-wide association study point to multiple pathways that may influence risk for chronic back pain,” said Suri. “Chronic back pain is linked to changes in mood, and the role of the central nervous system in the transition from acute to chronic back pain is well-recognised. However, the top two genetic variants we identified suggest causes implicating the peripheral structures, such as the spine.”