Sciatica affects about five percent of adults in the United
States and is one of the most common causes of chronic disability.
have identified a genetic mutation that significantly raises
the risk of sciatica, a common cause of back pain.
In a recent study, individuals with this gene mutation were
three times more likely to have sciatica, a spinal disc disease
that affects the body's largest nerve and causes pain in the
lower back and legs.
This study, appearing in the Journal of the American
Medical Association, states that sciatica has been linked
to environmental factors such as improper lifting and sitting
for long periods. This new findings suggest that people with
the genetic variation are especially vulnerable to such stresses.
The mutation is though to damage a protein in the disk called
collagen IX. This can make the disc prone to rupture, sometimes
resulting in pressure on the sciatic nerve, which runs from
the pelvic area down each leg. The variation can be found
in a relatively simple blood test, offering a new way to diagnose
sciatica which often does not show up on MRI scans.
Your doctor of chiropractic can provide you with more information
on testing for and the potential causes and most effective
methods of managing sciatica and other back conditions.
Paassilta P, Lohiniva J, Perala M, et al. Identification
of a novel common genetic risk factor for lumbar disk disease.
The Journal of the American Medical Association 2001:285(14),
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