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Can Smoking Cause Lower Back Pain

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Smoking can cause lower-back pain?

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You probably know that quitting smoking lowers your risk of lung cancer.

But did you know that giving up cigarettes also reduces your chances of suffering back pain and other spinal troubles?

The same goes for quitting any nicotine-containing product, like chewing and pipe tobacco, cigars, and nicotine patches and gum, says Chauncy Eakins, MD, of Clinical Neuroscience Institute.

Studies have found that people who smoke are more likely to have chronic pain, and not just back pain.”

Latest Chronic Pain News

FRIDAY, Dec. 14 — Quitting smoking helps reduce back pain in people being treated for spinal problems, according to a new study.

The findings show the need for programs to help these patients quit smoking, the researchers said.

They looked at more than 5,300 patients who had back pain caused by a spinal disorder and underwent surgical or nonsurgical treatment over eight months.

When they began treatment, prior smokers and patients who had never smoked reported much less back pain than current smokers and those who quit smoking during the study. Current smokers had significantly greater scores on all pain ratings used in the study — worst, current and average weekly pain — than patients who never smoked.

Patients who quit smoking during treatment reported greater improvements in pain than those who continued to smoke, according to the study, which was published in the December issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

“We know that nicotine increases pain,” study author Dr. Glenn Rechtine, of the department of orthopedics at the University of Rochester in New York, said in a journal news release. “In this study, if you quit smoking during treatment, you got better. If you continued to smoke, there was statistically no improvement, regardless of the treatment you had. Smoking is bad for you. Basically, the likelihood to improve your care — surgical or nonsurgical — was dramatically decreased if you are a smoker.”

— Robert Preidt

Quit Smoking For Good With These 7 Strategies

Most people require several tries before smoking cessation becomes permanent. These seven strategies can help.

  • Eat from the rainbow. Among its damage, smoking triggers oxidative stress, allowing free radicals to accumulate that contribute to health issues including Type 2 diabetes. Researchers find smokers eat fewer fruits and vegetables than non-smokers, plummeting their already-lower antioxidant levels. Eating a wide variety of colorful plant foods leafy and cruciferous vegetables and berries are rock stars can help reverse smokings damage and replenish antioxidant levels.
  • Manage stress. While many people reach for a cigarette to smoke to alleviate stress, research shows smoking actually increases stress levels. Regardless, youve probably used smoking to remedy stress, and youll need to find something else to alleviate those feelings now that you no longer smoke. Find a support group that keeps you committed to quitting. Meditation, yoga, deep breathing, Emotional Freedom Technique , exercise these are among the tools to reduce stress, but youve got to find what works for you and do it regularly.
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    Smoking And Arthritis: How Smoking Relates To Joint Pain

    By now, most people understand that smoking cigarettes has many negative health benefits, but one surprising side effect of smoking is joint pain.1,2

    A study published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases involving 13,000 people found that smoking made individuals more vulnerable to pain by about 30 percent.3 Even though only about 18 percent of Americans smoke, over 50 percent of patients who seek treatment for pain are smokers.4,5

    This is how smoking relates to joint pain and the types of pain that are most common among long-term smokers.

    Is It Legal To Use Cannabis For Back Pain

    Smoking and Back Pain

    Laws and legality concerning medical marijuana and marijuana use in the U.S. are ever-changing. Broadly speaking, any form of marijuana use, including medical marijuana, is illegal in the U.S., unless a specific state has decided to legalize it.

    At the moment, 30 states plus Washington D.C. have chosen to pass laws that allow medical use of marijuana to be legal as long as the drug is prescribed by a licensed professional. There are also some states where the use of THC remains completely illegal, but CBD could be used in medicine. For a list of states that allow medical marijuana, .

    This is generally because THC is responsible for the psychoactive reactions that users have to marijuana use, and is thus associated with non-medicinal uses.

    Using marijuana for recreational purposes still remains illegal in much of the country there are just 9 states and Washington D.C. that allow it.

    Of course, it should go without saying that you need to read up on your local laws to see whether it is legal to use medical marijuana for pain management and what kinds, if any, you may or may not be able to use.

    Concerning the states where we practice, the laws are somewhat restrictive. In Georgia, House Bill 65, passed in May of 2018, permitting the medical use of cannabis oil for intractable pain, which may or may not qualify you depending on your diagnosis.

    In Tennessee, unfortunately, medical uses of cannabis are restricted solely to seizure disorders, such as epilepsy.

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    The Relationship Between Smoking And Chronic Back Pain

    Studies have shown that smokers are more likely to develop chronic back pain than non-smokers. One study showed that both current and former smokers are more likely than people who have never smoked to have lower back pain, and that this association is higher in adolescents than in adults. The association was also higher with current smokers than former or non-smokers.

    Researchers from Northwestern University released the results of another study that linked smoking with chronic back pain. It’s the first study to reveal that smoking interferes with a brain circuit connected with pain, which makes cigarette smokers more susceptible to chronic back pain.

    The study, which tracked 160 adults with new cases of back pain, found that smokers are three times more likely than nonsmokers to develop chronic back pain. The study also revealed that if you drop the bad habit, you can decrease your chances of developing chronic back pain.

    Smoking And Back Pain

    Can smoking cause back pain? Though smoking impacts the entire body, it is also known to be specifically associated with chronic back pain, especially in the lower back. A lot of research has been conducted, but medical studies have not proved without a doubt that smoking causes back pain.

    However, researchers have found a statistical correlation and continue to study the relationship of smoking to back pain. There are higher rates of chronic low back pain among smokers compared to non-smokers, and smokers experience more severe pain.

    Current evidence does demonstrate the link between smoking and impairment of the vascular system and bone healing. The spine is made up of bones called vertebrae that are separated by cushioning discs made of an outer ring of fibrous cartilage and a softcore. Vertebrae and spinal discs need a healthy supply of nutrient and oxygen-rich blood to resist degeneration.

    Since smoking reduces blood flow, the nutrients and oxygen are not delivered in the amounts required to keep bones, cartilage, muscles and other tissues healthy. Spinal discs already have limited blood flow, so depriving them of these elements can cause them to deteriorate at a much faster rate than would normally occur during the aging process.

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    How Cannabis May Help With Lower Back Pain

    The term lower back pain refers to several symptoms that can be brought on by a number of potential underlying causes, and if youve ever experienced LBP youre not alone. According to the most recently archived information at Stats Canada, 4 out of every 5 Canadians will suffer from lower back pain in their lifetime. For 85-90% of those affected, the cause is not apparent, and the results can be quite devastating for those seeking relief.

    Patients report symptoms such as a dull throbbing ache, a shooting pain down the leg, and spasms of the muscles in the lower back. The pain can interfere with normal activities of daily living making basic tasks such as cooking, cleaning and dressing oneself seem overwhelming. The pain along with the restrictions it causes can ultimately lead the sufferer to psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety. Thus, finding appropriate lower back pain treatment is of the utmost importance.

    Historically, it has been common practice to prescribe opioids in the case of LBP. However, studies are leaving some skeptical about their efficacy, especially in the long term. Canadians are facing an opioid crisis, showing just how dangerous some of the mainstream treatments for LBP can be.

    All of these risks have got the medical community seeking alternative treatment plans. One of these alternatives is cannabis.

    A New Worry For Smokers

    *Nicotine Addiction* Caused My BACK PAIN

    The study, which was published in the journal Human Brain Mapping, is the first to establish that smoking might interfere with the brain receptors associated with pain. In fact, the team behind the study concluded that smokers are as much as three times more likely to develop chronic back pain than nonsmokers.

    We conclude that smoking increases risk of transitioning to chronic back pain, an effect mediated by corticostriatal circuitry involved in addictive behavior and motivated learning, they said.

    Turns out back pain is only one of 14 million serious medical conditions that are caused by smoking, according to another body of research published in October in JAMA Internal Medicine.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also names smoking as the number one cause of preventable deaths.

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    Mechanism Of Nicotine Action

    A variety of factors are believed to contribute to the analgesic effects of short-term exposure to nicotine.

    First, nicotine is an agonist of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors , which are found throughout the peripheral and central nervous system, and notably in brain regions associated with pain transmission, such as the dorsal horn, locus ceruleus, and thalamus.6 Specifically, nicotine acts on the 34 ganglion type in the autonomic ganglia and adrenal medulla, and the 42 nicotinic receptors in the central nervous system.6,7 The increased binding of nAChRs produces central antinociceptive effects that activate the spinal cord descending pain-inhibitory pathways, resulting in discharge of epinephrine from the adrenal medulla and catecholamines from sympathetic nerve endings.8-10

    Activation of nAChRs also potentiates the release of other neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, that play a role in nicotine-mediated analgesia.8,11 This increased stimulation of dopamine also activates the mesolimbic dopamine reward system, which increases the importance of incentive cues associated with nicotine use.6 Through this reward system, painful stimuli can become a conditioned cue for smoking.6 Interestingly, activation of nAChRs is similar to activation of opioid receptors in that both stimulate the release of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, which mediates the rewarding effects of nicotine and plays a role in pain perception.8,12,13

    This Post Has 27 Comments

  • Leonard Handrahan 1 Apr 2018

    I had trauma to my c1 and c2 of my neck and found i could no longer smoke pot because it would cause severe pain to not only the areas on my neck with the nerve damage but the pain would make its way up the back of my head into the Cerebellum region. The pain would force me to have to lie down and sometimes for quite a few hours.

  • Sarah Bird 1 Mar 2018

    Found this thread after suspecting cbd oil was causing my painful back spasms and terrible back ache so annoying that I will have to stop taking this oil,but its just too much of a coincidence since this has happened before when ingesting edible

  • Abe 30 Apr 2018

    Is your back now better that you stopped using CBD oil?

  • westwardbound 1 Nov 2017

    CB1 receptor activation did not increase pain in animal models of inflammatory or neuropathic pain

    Are you able to elaborate on which type of pain it was shown to increase in this study?

  • Prof of Pot4 Nov 2017

    Im not sure if you read the sentence wrongCB1 receptor activation did NOT increase pain in these animal models. This wasnt from a specific study, but just my general sense from reading many studies of animal models that an increase in pain is almost never reported.

  • Prof of Pot7 Nov 2017

    Sorry, I guess I misunderstood what you were asking. Outside of the studies described in this article, I have not seen any other studies showing that it increases pain. This was written over a year ago, so there could be new studies that I havent seen yet.

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    Back Pain And Smoking

    A construction worker might blame his jackhammer for his sore back. An office worker might chalk up the ache to an uncomfortable chair. Fair enough. But if either person happens to be a smoker, there just might be a different explanation for his or her pain.

    In recent years, researchers have uncovered a surprising connection between smoking and back pain. In study after study, smokers seem to be more likely than nonsmokers to suffer sore backs. The trend holds for men and women, manual laborers and white-collar workers. The investigations raise interesting questions about the root causes of pain. On a more practical level, they also give smokers a whole new reason to quit.

    A study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases drives the point home. British researchers asked 13,000 people about their lifestyles, including their smoking habits, jobs, activity levels, and history of pain. After adjusting for the demands of strenuous jobs and other factors that might cause back pain, the scientists concluded that smoking — by itself — raised the risk of debilitating back pain by about 30 percent. Smoking also seemed to make people slightly more vulnerable to pain in the neck, shoulders, elbows, hands, hips, and knees.

    How could smoking cause back pain?

    Should I give up smoking for the sake of my back?


    Palmer, K.T. et al. Smoking and musculoskeletal disorders: Findings from a British national survey. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 62: 33-36.

    Causes Of Lower Back Pain When Coughing

    Two Main Reasons For Back Pain and Its Alleviation Or ...

    Sometimes, back pain can actually be caused by chronic coughing. The act of coughing can put a strain on the back and make it contract more than normal. However, when coughing isnt chronic, the pain is most often due to an issue with your back.

    Lower back pain can have many causes. Some of the most common causes include:

    • Herniated disk. Disks are the cushions between the bones in your spine. A herniated disk occurs when the softer part of the disk pushes out to the harder part.
    • Muscle strain. A strain can affect a muscle or a tendon. In the back, the muscle or tendon can get pulled, torn, or twisted.
    • Muscle sprain. A sprain affects the ligaments that connect bones at a joint. With a sprain, the ligaments get stretched or torn.
    • Muscle spasm.Spasms and cramps happen when a muscle cant relax after contracting. The spasms can last seconds to over 15 minutes at a time. Sometimes, you can see the muscle twitch. The muscle can also be extra hard or look different than normal.

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    Smokers More Likely To Need Spinal Surgery

    By Lisa Rapaport, Reuters Health

    4 Min Read

    – – Smoking increases the risk of lower back pain that needs to be fixed by spinal surgery, a Swedish study suggests.

    Researchers focused on a common cause of lower back pain known as lumbar spinal stenosis, which occurs when the spinal canal narrows, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. The condition often develops as people age, but nicotines constriction of blood flow and promotion of inflammation are believed to contribute to the process, the study authors write.

    The researchers examined data on 331,941 construction workers who were part of a nationwide occupational health registry in Sweden. Workers were followed for an average of more than three decades, starting when they were typically in their 30s, and 1,623 of them eventually had surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis.

    Compared to people who never smoked, heavy smokers who went through at least 15 cigarettes a day were 46 percent more likely to have this spinal surgery, the study found. For moderate smokers who had up to 14 cigarettes a day, the increased risk was 31 percent, while ex-smokers had 13 percent higher odds of surgery.

    Smoking appears to be a risk factor for developing lower spine space narrowing that can lead to surgical treatment, said senior study author Dr. Arkan Sayed-Noor, a researcher at Umea University.

    Quitting smoking can reduce the risk, Sayed-Noor said by email.

    SOURCE: The Spine Journal, online December 12, 2017.

    Nicotine Weakens Bones Slows Healing

    Smoking also increases your risk for osteoporosis, a bone-weakening disease that can cause back pain and increase risk of hip and other bone fractures.

    Plus, nicotine can slow healing of bone fractures. Its why patients who need fusion surgery of the spine are asked to stop smoking at least a month before surgery.

    In fusion surgery, hardware is implanted in the patient, and the bones have to grow and fuse into the hardware, Dr. Eakins explains. Studies have shown that the failure rate of fusion surgery is twice as great for smokers than nonsmokers due to nicotines stifling effects on bone growth.

    Dr. Eakins adds, Studies have found that people who smoke are more likely to have chronic pain, and not just back pain. And there are studies that link smoking to chronic back pain.

    A Northwestern Medicine study, for instance, found that smokers are three times more likely than nonsmokers to develop chronic back pain. Quitting smoking cuts the risk of developing the condition.

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