It is not an uncommon belief for a person to think that, because one or both of their parents suffered from low back pain that they, too, will suffer from low back pain. While genetics may play a role, it is nowhere near the most critical one.
This particular study on twins finds that genetics only play about a 11-13% role for patients who have both low back pain and lumbar disc degeneration. This means that there are other factors at play in the risk for developing low back pain.
In general, the better we take care of ourselves, the lower our risk of developing disc degeneration. This means adopting a lifestyle that avoids diabetes, exercising and maintaining flexibility through things like yoga.
You see, the discs of our spine do not have their own blood supply. Rather, they are fed nutrients through smaller blood vessels. So what happens if plague begins to form on these important blood vessels bringing nutrients to the disc? You guessed it–reduced nutrient delivery and the disc cannot keep up with physiological demands so it begins to break down.
So, protecting your heart will also protect these important blood vessels which will, in turn, protect the discs of your spine. Certainly other factors like imbalance, poor posture and past trauma play a role as well, but I do not feel that the role is as great as protecting the blood vessels that feed nutrients to our discs.
The lucky thing is that an anti-diabetic lifestyle just so happens to also be an anti-heart disease / pro blood vessel health lifestyle. See how nicely that works out? Just when you thought you were going to have to pick a disease you wanted to avoid with lifestyle..