Arthritis of the Spine Genetic Factors | Inherited Factors

When people develop arthritis in the spine, it is usually designated as osteoarthritis. This condition is characterized by the wearing away of the cartilage on the ends of bones, and it can affect any joint in the body, including those in the spine. Genetic makeup is a major factor in the development of osteoarthritis.

Family history can be a clue

There’s a reason why physicians often ask patients about their family’s history of disease: it can help them predict the occurrence of some conditions, including osteoarthritis. If a patient has a parent, grandparent or siblings with osteoarthritis, he or she will often present with the condition at some point in his or her life. In fact, studies have shown that such patients are often affected at the same joints as their relatives. It seems that many genes control this predisposition, and they can also control the production of cartilage. Some people have DNA that makes their bodies create less durable cartilage – and it therefore wears away more quickly, speeding the onset of arthritis.

Other risk factors for arthritis of the spine

Genetic disposition doesn’t guarantee that a person will or won’t develop osteoarthritis in the spine, but there is a correlation. The same can be said for other risk factors, such as:

  • Holding an occupation that involves heavy lifting or other repetitive stress – Construction workers, truck drivers and others are disposed to spinal arthritis.
  • Being overweight – Carrying around extra pounds places an additional burden on the spine, causing more wear on the cartilage.
  • Sustaining injuries to the spine – Auto accidents and sports collisions can damage spinal components and increase the risk of osteoarthritis.
  • Being a woman – Women stand a higher chance of developing osteoarthritis, perhaps due to the hormonal changes that accompany menopause.

If you have been diagnosed with arthritis of the spine, and your conservative treatment regimen hasn’t alleviated your symptoms, contact Laser Spine Institute today for a review of your MRI report or CT scan. Our medical professionals can tell you about our minimally invasive surgical procedures and how they may provide relief.