Smoking and Chronic Back Pain: Can They Affect Each Other
Smoking is a habit linked to multiple health concerns and illnesses. One common symptom that people with smoking-related diseases is back pain. Because of this, researchers wanted to determine the correlation between these two things.
Why do smokers experience chronic back pain? Is it really an effect of smoking? Continue reading to find out.
Is Smoking Linked to Chronic Back Pain?
When a person develops a smoking habit, there will be a constant supply of nicotine in the brain. To give you an idea, 1-2mg of nicotine per cigarette. When you inhale this, you also allow toxic substances like tar and carbon dioxide to invade your lungs.
Considering these things alone, it is understandable that smoking can bring in a lot of diseases in the body, and it is not limited to back pain.
However, back pain’s effects boil down to a person’s cells. Nicotine can impact the body on a cellular level, weakening its ability to perform its purposes. Eventually, this can lead to diseases like arthritis and degenerative disc disease.
Can Smoking Cause Back Pain?
People may start smoking to feel good. Yet, when they already have chronic back pain, it can worsen.
When you smoke, your bones weaken. With additional weakness in the spine, there is a possibility that you’ll develop arthritis in the spine. Smoking does not only affect the back, though. It also affects your rib cage, which exposes your spine to more strain.
The spine will also bear the brunt of more pressure from the thinner blood vessels brought up by nicotine in the body. This may lead to early degenerative disc disease and spinal deformity.
What Are the Effects of Smoking on the Health of Your Spine?
1. Higher Risk of Osteoporosis
Chronic smoking makes a person more prone to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a bone-thinning condition that may make bones weak and prone to fractures. Smoking can accelerate bone loss in the back, which is already inclined to osteoporosis, resulting in lower bone density.
2. Higher Risk of Vertebral Compression Fracture
A vertebral compression fracture (VCF) occurs when the spine is subjected to too much pressure, which can be caused by osteoporosis, trauma, or degenerative disc disease.
VCF can develop slowly and remain asymptomatic. However, it can also be painful and problematic, possibly leading to a total spinal collapse.
Because of how smoking affects the bones, smokers have a greater risk for VCF.
3. Increased Risk of Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis is a condition that can cause compression of the spinal cord or nerves. A narrowing of the spinal canal causes this. However, smoking can make it worse. Smoking can alter the function of the spinal nerves and discs, causing them to become brittle.
4. Limited Mobility
Chronic smoking can cause skeletal abnormalities and premature aging. With these changes, a person can no longer move as fast or reach for things without anyone’s help. This can result in less activity and a more sedentary lifestyle.
Quitting smoking is an essential step in preventing smoking-related diseases and improving your overall health. If you feel like smoking has aided in your back pain, getting rid of the habit is a good way to help your body recover.
For more information about back pain relief, check out Rhythmic Health. We provide resources to help you get rid of your health troubles, including back pain. Sign up to be part of our newsletter mailing list for more information.