The UK study, published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, looked at 4,600 people and found the PARK2 gene was linked to age-related disc problems.
A third of middle-aged women have problems with at least one spinal disc – and the condition is known to be inherited in up to 80% of patients.
Experts said finding the gene could lead to new treatments being developed.
Back pain costs the UK about £7bn a year in sickness leave and treatment costs, but the causes of the condition are not fully understood.
In lumbar disc degeneration (LDD), discs become dehydrated and lose height, and the vertebrae next to them develop bony growths called osteophytes, leading to lower back pain.
The King’s College London researchers carried out MRI scans of all those in the study and looked at differences in their genetic make-up. Continue reading Gene flaw linked to Low Back Pain