Is Chronic Pain Hereditary?

If you suffer from chronic pain, are your kids also more likely to? The answer seems to be yes, although it’s certainly not inevitable. 

Increasingly, research is showing that our genes may play a role in causing certain conditions that cause pain. Our genes may also help determine how intensely we feel pain. 

For instance, researchers in Utah found that deterioration of lumbar discs—which is one of the most common causes of low back pain—seems to have a genetic componentStudies have shown that fibromyalgia seems to run in families. And research has also shown that teens whose parents had chronic pain were more likely to suffer chronic pain themselves.

What's more, researchers have discovered that chronic pain sufferers who rank their pain the highest are 25 percent more likely than those who rate their pain as more moderate to have a gene variant called DRD2. Those who ranked their pain lowest were 33% more likely to have a different gene variant, called DRD1. So genes seem to play a role in how we experience pain.

What does all this mean? If you had a parent who endured pain, are you also doomed to suffer? Or if you are in pain, will your children be?

Not necessarily. For one thing, you don’t necessarily inherit all your parents' genes.

Even if you did, many factors affect your well-being, and genes are just one of them. Taking good care of your health can tips the odds in your favor. That means, for instance, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, not smoking, and finding healthy ways to manage your stress. Teaching your kids these same healthy habits gives them an advantage.

The good news is that knowing more about the genetics behind pain gives researchers more information that may one day help them develop more effective treatments for pain. It also helps to know that we have many effective treatments now for chronic pain.

If you are suffering, please do not hesitate to call us. Located in Fort Mohave, we serve patients in Arizona, Nevada, and California. Dr. Benjamin Venger, our pain management expert, is here to help. Call us now at (928) 788-3333 or request an appointment online and don’t live another day with chronic pain!

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.

Get tips on managing pain in the latest edition of Pain News

Download