Does back pain run in families?

I read today in the US survey of Back and Neck Pain that 21% of respondants thought it ran in the family. This I found very interesting because apart from a few heredetary conditions, back and neck pain are unlikely to be inherited. So what is going on here?

Human beings are very strange we often adopt behaviours and habits from the people we spend most time with. We are all very aware at how good children are at mimicking adults from an early age, well what if children subconsciously follow our own habits and look very like us as adults.

If you slump in a chair a lot at home, or if you have an usual gait when you walk or tilt your head to one side when you talk. Maybe your children or family members pick up these habits too.

So what I am suggesting is that back pain may be as a result of habits we pick up from an early age.

I am aware myself that within my family there is a history of back problems. Interestingly my father often walks around tightening at the hips in a slight stoop and then walks with his hands clasped behind his back. On occasion before I discovered the nature of habit with the Alexander Technique I was known to walk like this too. I had also back problems in the past.

Maybe bad backs do run in families but it maybe down to the way we use our bodies not down to a heredetary musculoskeletal condition.


African lady walking with poise


Next time you go for a walk observe what you might be doing with your body. Do you bounce up and down, do you lean back with your hips and pull your shoulders back. Watch other people walking its quite amusing as you will see all kinds of strange habits when walking. Clearly the lady above has not developed any bad habits when walking.