Home » Spine Conditions » Canal Stenosis » Canal Stenosis: Genetics Factors
Canal stenosis, or narrowing of the central spinal canal, can occur for any number of reasons including the natural aging process, lifestyle factors and traumatic injury as well as genetics and a family history of the condition. The moving parts of the spine, such as the facet joints and the discs, can develop conditions that displace anatomy and constrict the already narrow canal that protects the spinal cord as it travels from the brain to the rest of the body. Genetics can play a role in canal stenosis because some people are born with a naturally narrow spinal canal or can be more prone to spinal degeneration due to family history.
The connection between genes and canal stenosis
Some people are very likely to have spinal canal stenosis due to the DNA that they inherit. They may have congenital scoliosis, which is lateral spinal curvature when viewed from the back or front, or they may be born with a smaller spinal canal than most people. If either of these factors are present, the elements of the spine are much more likely to constrict nerve roots and the spinal cord under these conditions than in people with typical spines.
There is also evidence that the occurrence of spinal osteoarthritis, a common contributing factor to spinal stenosis, is connected to genetic factors. While the investigation is ongoing, medical researchers have found several genetic markers that are present in patients with osteoarthritis and are believed to be inheritable.
Other potential causes of canal stenosis
Genes alone don’t determine whether someone will be affected by canal stenosis later in life. In fact, the most common reason for the occurrence of this condition is aging. As our bodies grow older, the cartilage that protects joints wears down and becomes brittle, allowing bones to grind against each other and develop bone spurs. Tissues also become more dehydrated, leading to shorter, less flexible spinal discs that can bulge out or rupture. Ligaments that stabilize the spinal column can thicken and lose their flexibility. All of these changes have the potential to narrow the spinal canal, interfering with nerves and causing a range of symptoms.
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