How Does Smoking Affect Back Pain
Smokers are more likely to develop chronic back pain than non-smokers. You might attribute this to some lifestyle issues. Smokers are generally not as healthy as non-smokers. Smoking reduces the immune system’s ability to defend the body against disease. Smokers get more colds and have more respiratory issues than non-smokers.
Beyond all of that, there are now some scientifically proven reasons why smoking causes chronic back pain:
- Smoking affects the areas of the brain that are involved in habit forming and addiction. The brain activity that is associated with resistance to chronic pain is stimulated by smoking. Smokers are more likely to develop chronic pain because their brain pathways to chronic pain are better connected.
- Blood flow to the discs in your spine is restricted by smoking. Those discs are meant to cushion the vertebrae, and they degenerate faster in smokers.
Smokers are prone to coughing, and that can cause back pain.
- Smoking blocks calcium absorption in the body, which slows bone growth and repair. Smokers are at a higher risk for osteoporosis and tiny fractures in the spine.
- Studies show that when people quit smoking, these health risks are reduced. In time, calcium absorption resumes, as does blood flow to the spinal discs. If you experience chronic back pain and you smoke, quitting may help resolve your pain.
Back Pain Causes
There are several causes for back pain, but most of them come down to a structural issue in the spine. When a vertebra has even a tiny fracture, it is susceptible to causing pain. It could move out of place, rest on a nerve or cause the adjacent disc to become injured. If the vertebra becomes unbalanced, it might put more pressure on one side of the disc. If the pressure on the disc becomes too lopsided, the disc could slide out of position.
In addition to running through the middle of the spinal column, nerves run from the spinal cord out from between the vertebrae and to other areas of the body. Any movement of the vertebrae or discs threatens to pinch a nerve. Even if the movement is not permanent, the pain can cause inflammation, which will put more pressure on the nerves and increase the pain.
Because there are so many small structures in the spine, spine pain can have several causes. Knowing the cause of the pain helps determine what can be done to resolve it.
Spine Pain Assessment
Assessing the cause of spine pain begins with some basic information. By understanding where your back hurts and what type of pain it is, we can begin to figure out what is causing your pain. We also need to know how long you’ve had the pain, when it started, if you were injured and if you have other related symptoms.
With all of your information and a few diagnostic tests, we can present you with some treatment options for relieving your back pain. To get started, use our online pain assessment tool and schedule a consultation.