Is Chronic Joint Pain Hereditary?

A common question among those who suffer from the pain of chronic joint pain is whether it may have been passed down from one's parents or others in the family line.

The short answer is "yes," but not all chronic joint pain is hereditary.

A study conducted at King's College in London showed that musculoskeletal pain is one of four types of chronic pain that may be inherited. According to the study, which used identical and non-identical twins, "... genes could account for as much as two-thirds of someone's chances of developing the disease."

This may be only a small consolation to the millions of Americans who suffer from chronic joint pain, which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, affects approximately 40% of the population at least once in their lives.

Non-arthritis joint pain may have roots in hereditary but it can also be the result of environmental or personal health conditions, including:

  • Weight - The heavier you are, the more stress you are putting on your joints. It is estimated, for example, that for every extra pound of body fat, there are four additional pounds of stress on the knees.
  • Temperature - Cold, damp climates can negatively affect those with chronic joint pain.
  • Diet - Remarkably, some foods may affect the onset or severity of chronic joint pain, including fried foods, processed foods, sugars, and dairy products, to name a few.
  • Trauma - An injury from a car or other accident is often the cause of chronic joint pain.
  • Age - Over the years, our cartilage can become stiff, loses its elasticity, and is more easily damaged.

The onset of both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis may be the result of one or more environmental factors, or it could be due to a genetic predisposition.

Though the exact role of genetics as it relates to chronic joint pain has not yet be pinpointed, scientists do believe there is a connection.

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