Does Smoking Affect Back Pain?
Smoking is a significant health hazard. It weakens your immune system, it causes an increased risk for lung cancer, colon cancer, and mouth cancer (among many others). It can cause COPD, chronic bronchitis, stroke, heart disease – the list is extensive.
For those that have chronic back pain, the effects of smoking may give you yet another reason to quit.
How Smoking Creates Back Pain
Smoking has several direct links to back pain, including:
- Reduced Blood Supply – When you smoke, your arteries harden. Hardened arteries reduce blood supply to the rest of your body. Your spine needs healthy blood flow, as well as an ample supply of oxygen, to remain healthy. Thus, smoking contributes speeds up the rate and frequency of degenerative disc disease (DDD).
- Reduction of Chronic Pain Tolerance – There is a part of your brain that is specifically responsible for your ability to tolerate chronic brain. When this part of the brain is activated, your ability to cope with pain decreases. Smoking activates this part of the brain, which in turn causes tolerable lower back pain to feel less tolerable.
- Insufficient Healing – Some spinal specialists will not even perform spinal stenosis, and other spinal surgeries, on those that smoke. That is because studies of the success rates of these surgeries on smokers is bleak. It is found that those that smoke are less likely to have a positive outcome from spinal surgeries, and may have numerous complications related to healing.
These are only a few of the many links between smoking and back pain. Smoking also contributes to bone loss/osteoarthritis, and weakens your immune system – all of which can lead to further back pain.
Another Reason to Quit Smoking
If you smoke, and you have any back pain, it may be time to quit. The links between smoking and back pain are extensive, and those that struggle with back pain are unlikely to find relief from the most commonly available treatments. For more information about back pain and smoking, or to find out how you can stop back pain, call SpineCenterAtlanta today at 404-351-5812.