Sunday, September 6, 2009
Back Pain and Discs
Back pain affects as many as eight out of 10 people at some point in their lives, but for some, the pain is more than an occasional strain or sprain. It is the result of a herniation or a protrusion of a disk in the back. These disks act like shock absorbers for the backbone and when they protrude, they can irritate nerves and cause severe pain. Now, a report in the journal Nature provides some insight into why some people have disk problems while others do not. A genetic variation associated with susceptibility to lumbar disk disease. A Japanese study has led to the isolation of an altered protein found in the cartilage of effected individuals. A protein is shown to interact with a growth factor previously associated with connective tissue disorders. What this means is growth factor can affect how the disks in the backbone are made, causing some to be more likely to be injured and cause pain.