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Smoking And Back Pain – What Is The Link?

Smoking And Back Pain – What Is The Link?

January 10, 2022

Everyone knows about the relationship between cigarettes and heart disease or lung cancer, but are you aware that Smoking Can Increase the Chances of Your Having Disc Problems By 4 Times. When I inform my patients about this they are very surprised. Cigarettes contain more than 7000 toxic chemicals and we know at least more than 250 of them are harmful to our body. Numerous studies have reported that smoking is associated with chronic pain, especially back and joint pains. Increased chronic pain is due to the ability of nicotine and other chemicals to:

  • Narrows blood vessels, reducing the blood flow to the muscles, bones and other body parts
  • Impact on brain circuitry
  • Impact on immunity and slow healing
  • Increased fatigue
  • Increase blood pressure

The incidence of chronic low back pain among smokers compared to non-smokers is higher, and smokers experience more severe pain. This is true irrespective of the sex and nature of work (manual laborers Vs white-collar). Some studies have reported former smokers having a higher prevalence of back pain than never smokers and other studies have reported that those who smoked more cigarettes per day had higher prevalence of back pain.

For those with back pain, it is important to know about the link between smoking and back pain as smoking is known to

Impact on Discs

One of the most important factors responsible for increased back pain is the impact of smoking on the discs. The disc is dependent on the surrounding tissues for its nutrition and when we smoke, the pores through which the nutrition goes, start getting blocked, negatively affecting the healing and regenerating capacity of the discs. Nicotine can alter the size of the blood vessels and the ability for the body to adapt, increasing the chances of damage. The flexibility of discs suffers and they can degenerate quickly, leading to early disc problems.

Impact on Bones

Your bones also become weak due to smoking because smoking increases osteoporosis.

Impact on Pain Sensitivity

Another factor due to which the pain can increase is pain sensitivity. When you smoke your pain sensitivity increases which means that the pain which was less troublesome before increases in severity.

Impact on Muscles

So when you smoke, your muscles become weak. Muscle mass, flexibility, and strength decreases and this can become a reason for the pain arising from the muscles

Impact on Tendons & Ligaments

The stability and the strength of ligaments and tendons reduces due to which the instability of the spine can increase.

Other Effects

Besides the above effects, smoking has many other adverse effects such as causing inflammation and impairing immune function affecting the healing capacity of the body.

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