Smoking has been linked to back pain

According to the National Institue of Health, smoking affects the body’s ability to get enough nutrients to the discs of your spine. In addition, people who smoke are slow to heal, which may cause back pain to last longer and slow down healing following surgery.

Presented here are three health care providers that discuss the deleterious effects of smoking on spine health.

Does Smoking Cause Low Back Pain?

Physical therapist, Lisa Marrone, discusses how cigarette smoking affects back pain.

By now (I hope) we are all well-versed in the detrimental effects that cigarette smoking has on the heart and lungs. But it may come as a surprise to you is that smoking can actually contribute to the onset and chronicity of lower back pain. So much so, that recovery from pain—even after surgery—may never be realized.

Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide which binds to the blood’s oxygen carrying sites, blocking the full uptake of oxygen into the body. This prohibits the discs, joints, bones, and muscles in the spine from receiving all the oxygen necessary for the daily task of restoration and regeneration.

Inhaled smoke also has a destructive effect on the connective tissues in the body, which is best observed in the face of a smoker whose skin looks to be much older than its person. (This is thanks, in part, to the free radicals produced which steal oxygen molecules from healthy cells.) Additionally, smoking blocks the uptake of vitamin C, an antioxidant whose job it is to fight against those nasty free radicals.

Every structure within your back is supplied with nutrients (and emptied of waste products) via miniature blood vessels called capillaries. If smoking can block the larger vessels of the heart, just imagine the clogging effect it has on those narrower vessels! Given all this, it isn’t surprising that X-ray studies show the acceleration of degenerative changes within the smoker’s spine is four times that of non-smokers, according to spine surgeon, Dr. Thomas Dowling.

Sadly, all of these factors even work together to significantly lower the success rate of spine surgeries—so much so that many spine surgeons won’t even perform surgery on a smoker! The good news is that cessation of smoking for six weeks prior to spine surgery improves surgical outcomes significantly. So if you, or someone you know, are battling low back pain, now is the time to stamp out that habit once and for all!

Smoking Affects Spinal Disc Nutrition

Smoking & Back Pain

Dr. Thomas Jarecky discusses how smoking affects disc nutrition and you will get much better results in you quit smoking before receiving your injections.

Poor Outcomes Following Spinal Fusion In Smokers

Great American Smoke-Out – Throw Out Your Pack, Help Your Back

Dean Karahalios, MD offers advice on how to quit smoking and how smoking can contribute to back pain and hinder treatment options for those who need it.

Do you have additional questions about smoking and back pain? Post your question in the comments section below and we’ll answer your question promptly.

Before you go, do us a favor and click the like button to share this information with your friends on Facebook and (if you don’t mind) the +1 button to let Google know you liked what we have to say about back pain. We appreciate your willingness to help us get the word out.

And… don’t forget to reserve your seat to the next Virtual Back Pain Clinic webinar. The event is absolutely free. Register Here