A large news study suggests that there is an association between low back pain and depression that may actually be as a result of genetic factors. Those genetic factors that affect both these condition may be related to the association between depression and back pain.
For the study, the researchers analysed data from an established database of 2, 150 Spanish twins. The responses on the questionnaire were analysed to determine whether the participants with symptoms of depression had a higher prevalence of back pain or not.
Different statistical analyses were performed to clarify the contributions of genetic factors as well as early shared environment to the depression and back pain link. The results exhibited a significant association between the symptoms of depression and that of low back pain. When the participants were considered individually instead of as twins and were therefore, no genetic or familial factors, the likelihood of having back pain were seen to be about 1.6 higher for those people who have symptoms of depression as well as anxiety.
When the twin pairs were analysed, the relationship was seen to be significant with a 1.7 increase in the likelihood. The association was seen to be stronger i.e. more than 2.3 increase in odds of low back pain that is linked with anxiety and depression. This was found on analysis of dizygotic twins, those who share half their genes.
On analysing further, the monozygotic twins who were genetically identical, the symptoms of depression and low back pain were seen to have disappeared. This led to the confusion that strong association that was found in non-identical twins had resulted because of confounding effects of common genetic factors that influence both the conditions.
For instance, the genes affected levels of neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and serotonin that might affect the risk of both the conditions. Studies done in the past have shown there to be a consistent relationship between depression and back pain, which is a combination that may complicate the diagnosis as well as treatment.
The nature of the association, however, remains unclear. The study is the first that examines relationship between lower back pain and depression with the help of twin data to control genetic and familial factors.
The study was published in the journal PAIN.
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News courtesy: Firstpost
Image courtesy: Getty
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