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How Smoking Contributes To Back Pain

Aug 17, 2018

You’ve heard it a million times: if you quit smoking immediately, you substantially reduce your risk of developing serious health issues like heart disease, stroke and lung cancer.

The Atlanta orthopedic doctors at AICA Orthopedics want to repeat this important message. Not only does smoking cause the health conditions we’ve already shared, but it can also cause problems you may not have thought of, like back pain.

Smoking and Back Pain

Doctors have always believed there was a connection between smoking and back pain but in 2001, a study by Johns Hopkins University confirmed the link. Along with many other smoking relating issues, back pain appears to start with hypertension, or abnormally high blood pressure.

As you know, cigarettes and other tobacco products contain nicotine, the nicotine immediately affects your blood vessels, causing them to constrict. The constriction rapidly increases your blood pressure and could even restrict blood flow to vital organs and tissues, including back muscles and spinal discs.

In order to be heal itself, remain oxygenated and remove waste product, every tissue in your body needs a healthy blood flow. If the blood supply to your spine and back muscles is restricted, their ability to heal effectively is inadequate, resulting in back pain over time.

Smoking and the Spinal Discs

The discs cushioning your vertebra play a vital role in your well being. They help absorb the shock you experience as you walk around and move about your day. In fact, every move you make depletes some fluid in your discs. A healthy body is able to replenish the fluid overnight.

However, a smoker might not replenish the discs as effectively. Without the ability to fully refill over time, the fluid in the discs can become so diminished that the vertebrae will rub against each other leading to severe back pain.

Smoking and its Effects on Back Muscles

We’ll say it again: muscles need healthy blood flow to heal effectively–especially after injuries. For a healthy person, the movements you make throughout a typical day subject your back muscles to repeated impact that are not a problem.

For a smoker however, the everyday wear-and-tear is not healed within a few days. Instead, the body struggles to heal itself, making a few minor back injuries snowball into unbearable pain. Back pain is just one of the the detrimental effects smoking can have on your body. The Atlanta orthopedic doctors at AICA Orthopedics urge you to quit today.

Give your body time to heal and recover from the damage smoke and nicotine have done to your body and quit as soon as possible. Remember, there are resources and supports available so you do not have to face quitting alone.


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