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Does Smoking Cause Lower Back Pain

When Back Pain Requires Emergent Treatment

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In some people who have metastases to their spine, a condition called malignant spinal cord compression may develop. The symptoms include worsening back pain, weakness of the legs, and sometimes loss of urinary or bowel control. This is a medical emergency, and immediate treatment is needed to prevent complications such as paralysis.

Does Smoking Cause Low Back Pain

A new study strengthens the link between smoking and lower back pain, and also sheds light on the causes of degenerative lumbar spine problems.

The study on smoking and low back pain, which prospectively examined 1,337 physicians who graduated from Johns Hopkins University between 1948 and 1964, followed some participants for more than 50 years.

Researchers discovered that smoking history, hypertension and coronary artery disease – all of which are risk factors for atherosclerosis, or occlusion of the arteries – were significantly associated with the development of low back pain.

These same risk factors, along with abnormally high blood cholesterol levels, were also significantly associated with the development of lumbar spondylosis. The findings provide support for the hypothesis that atherosclerosis causes lower back pain and degenerative disorders of the intervertebral discs.

Smoking And Chronic Diseases

Notwithstanding the fact smoking is just plain bad for you, if you smoke and have a chronic disease youre putting yourself through unnecessary pain and suffering. Arthritis, lupus, MS, and fibromyalgia are all chronic, painful conditions.

Reducing your bodys ability to cope by smoking with these diseases makes no sense at all. Your body relies on oxygen to function not just breathing, but the cellular metabolism carried out by every organ system is oxygen-dependent.

Smoking cripples the bodys ability to repair and regenerate itself. When you smoke with a chronic disease, your pain levels increase, and your ability to function goes down. You decrease your motility, increase your pain, and cause your condition to worsen.

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While Common Awareness Brings In The Understanding That Smoking Can Lead To Cancer And Cardiovascular Diseases Not Everyone Is Aware That Smoking Can Also Cause Lower Back Pain Or Can Further Worsen An Existing Back Condition

Smoking is often seen as a risk factor for multiple medical issues. However, its relation to musculoskeletal conditions, like that of back pain, is rarely understood and evaluated. Inspite of regular exercise, a healthy diet plan, and a proper lifestyle, you may experience chronic back pain if you are addicted to smoking or often breathe in second-hand smoke.

While common awareness brings in the understanding that smoking can lead to cancer and cardiovascular diseases, not everyone is aware of the fact that smoking can also cause lower back pain or further worsen an existing back condition. Worldwide research suggests that smokers are thrice more likely to experience chronic back pain and are also more likely to develop physical disabilities at an earlier age as compared to non-smokers.

Cigarette smoking reduces calcium absorption, prevents new bone growth and slows down the spines healing process. Coughing due to heavy smoking can also lead to increased intra-abdominal pressures which may further add to the back pain says Dr Neha Narula, senior spine specialist, QI Spine Clinic, who suggests three important reasons why one should quit smoking immediately.

*Reduced blood flow to the discs and disc degeneration

*Weakening of muscles and immunity

*Altered perception of pain

Back Pain Conditions Worsened By Smoking

The Top Causes of Low Back Pain

There is a myriad of painful conditions, from desiccated discs to osteoporosis, that are either caused or worsened by smoking. Some procedures can also be jeopardized due to smoking.

  • Degenerative Disc Disease: Smoking is linked to the development of degenerative disc disease, otherwise known as disc dehydration among other terms, says Dr. Zikel. He details that dehydrated discs are likely due to the effects of nicotine on the vascular system as well as the cellular damage caused by smoke toxins.
  • Osteoporosis: Dr. Mukai says, Smoking is also associated with higher risk of osteoporosis, or thin bones, and this can lead to increased risk of spine fractures.
  • Fibromyalgia: According to a Mayo Clinic study, smokers with fibromyalgia reported an increased severity in their symptoms, a worse quality of life, and increased anxiety when compared to non-smokers with fibromyalgia.
  • Spinal Fusion: When it comes to smoking and spinal fusion, its known that smoking can delay or prevent healing and fusion, something that can be quite detrimental when trying to permanently connect two or more vertebrae in ones spine. Actually, it can negatively affect spine surgeries in general. Dr. Zikel says, I, like many surgeons, require smoking cessation prior to some spine operations, especially ones involving spinal fusion. There is extensive data that shows smoking negatively impacts fusion of bones, which can lead to worse surgical outcomes.
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    I Can Smoke All I Want

    This is not a promotional blog post to smoke willy nilly now. Smoking has detrimental health effects and youd be digging your head in the sand if you deny that. Its just unclear to determine how exactly smoking affects lumbar spine health and if this degeneration does indeed lead to pain in people.

    Could it be that smokers make poorer lifestyle choices which can make people more susceptible to pain? YES!

    Is it healthier to quit or not smoke regardless if it influences spinal degeneration or not? Of course!

    Could smokers we read about in studies just coincidentally have back pain and are dealing with other stressors? Perhaps.

    We know for sure smoking is unhealthy for spinal health but its still unclear on distinct pathways. Its better for your health to not touch cigarettes anyway.

    Overall, it is my assertion we see the whole person and the interplay of factors that summarily leads to the output of pain. Lifestyle factors such as sedentariness, low level of activity, smoking, being obese, and poor sleep may predispose you to pain but its not guaranteed.

    Youre doing yourself a favor when you practice healthier behavior.

  • OSullivan, PB, Caneiro, JP, OKeefe, M., Smith, Anne, Dankaerts, W., Fersum, KV, OSullivan, K . Cognitive Fnctional Therapy: An Integrated Behavioral Approach for the Targeted Management of Disabling Low Back Pain. Physical Therapy, 98, 408-423.
  • Can Smoking Cause Back Pain

    ‘Smoking May Be Deadly, But Does It Actually Create Back Pain?’

    The Short Answer

    Can smoking cause back pain? The short answer is Yes in the long term smoking can indeed cause back pain, but in the short term No it wont.

    Furthermore, smoking has been known to have certain analgesic effects that can actually reduce back pain in the short term.

    We analyse further why it helps, why it hinders and where the crossover starts to happen giving you a clear answer to our readers question can smoking cause back pain?

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    Smoking And Joint Pain

    A slowdown in blood circulation can have the same impact on joints, creating a compounded situation in which supporting joints like the hips and knees deteriorate. The restricted blood flow contributes to cartilage loss and bone deterioration. Smokers may develop osteoarthritis faster and experience worse chronic pain than a non-smoker.

    Smoking And Pain Levels

    What Causes Lower Back Pain?

    Studies have been made on pain levels in smokers versus nonsmokers. The smokers appear to have more frequent and more severe pain than nonsmokers. The cause is not known people who tend to smoke may have lower pain thresholds than those who dont, or the smoking may somehow lower the bodys pain threshold.

    The reason is not understood, but it does appear smokers suffer more pain than nonsmokers, in the back, legs, knees, and joints.

    Nevertheless, why do you choose to endure pain for a long period of time? Browse the internet to find the best joint pain supplements and get rid of joint aches instantly.

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    How Smoking Causes Back Pain

    Years of research has found that smoking is linked to higher rates of osteoporosis, lumbar disc diseases, and increased problems with bone healing. Those who smoke have a higher chance of developing chronic pain as a result of previous spine injuries or other back problems.

    So what exactly does smoking do? It impairs the delivery of oxygen-rich blood to the bones and tissues. This lack of blood and oxygen flow can cause degeneration in the discs between each vertebrae in the spine. This happens most often in the lower back and can lead to osteoporosis. It is also found to be more common in women than men. Whether youre a smoker or not, our discs naturally degenerate as we age. As a result, smoking will speed up that process. These painful conditions can become more prominent in smokers.

    Learn more about it in this video where New Jersey back pain specialist Kam Momi discusses the link between smoking and back pain:

    Cannabis Can Paradoxically Worsen Pain

    Many people think of cannabis as a way to alleviate pain. After my friend was in a bike accident, she took cannabis edibles to escape the chronic pain that had developed in her back. Instead, she found that it made the pain unbearable. I dig into the cannabinoid research to find out why.

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    Lower Back Pain: What Could It Be

    Do you have lower back pain? You are not alone. Anyone can experience lower back pain at any time, even if you dont have a prior injury or any of the risk factors. It is not always serious and can often get better on its own. But in some cases pain is your bodys way of telling you that something isnt right.

    Learn more about lower back pain and what causes it from rehabilitation physician Akhil Chhatre, M.D., who specializes in back pain in the Johns Hopkins Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

    What Does It Mean If Lower Back Pain Is Shooting Into Legs

    Smoking and Back Pain

    Lower back pain can radiate to other parts of the body: up or down from its place of origin. Sometimes lower back pain can be on one side of the back, which is also normal.

    If the pain is shooting from the lower back into one or both legs, it could be sciatica , but its not always the case. There are many parts in the lower back that may cause the pain to radiate into the legs, such as facet joints, sacroiliac joints, muscles or inflammation of the bursa.

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    The Effects Of Nicotine On Your Spine

    Nicotine, the addictive component of a cigarette, restricts blood flow to the spine, including the discs between vertebrae. These discs act as shock absorbers between the bones of your spine. With reduced blood flow, the bones and discs degenerate more quickly. This loss of cushioning between bones leads to back pain. Nicotine also reduces the rate of calcium absorption, which is necessary to grow new bone. With this decreased bone growth, a person who smokes is at risk of osteoporosis , fractures, and slower healing. In addition, those who smoke often experience a smokers cough. These repeated coughing spells can also cause spine pain from repeated jerky motions of the neck and back with each cough .

    Smoking And Disc Degeneration

    Although genetic predisposition is the number one risk factor for DDD, smoking is another, both in the lumbar discs and cervical discs .

    Research suggests that people who smoke have a greater risk of developing DDD and that smoking can exacerbate a pre-existing disc degeneration.

    Nicotine deprives disc cells of vital nutrients. When you smoke, you also introduce carbon monoxide into the bloodstream, which then travels into the body’s tissues. The toxins inhibit the discs’ ability to absorb the nutrients they need from the blood, including calcium, which leads to a compromised vertebral structure.

    This process is what degenerates the discs they become prematurely dehydrated and less pliable. As the discs become more malnourished, there is a greater risk of a ruptured disc as well, which occurs when the disc’s contents, a “jelly-like” substance, spill from its outer layer.

    The contents irritate the nerves, which can cause pain, numbness, and in some cases, nerve damage in the legs or arms.

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    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.

    Other Risks For Disc Damage

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    There are other smoking-related risks that may lead to disc damage. They include:

    • Coughing: More prevalent among those who smoke, coughing can also add to the risk of back pain. The abrupt motion that your body makes when you cough consistently increases the pressure between discs. This strains the discs and the spine, creating a greater risk of disc bulges and ruptures .
    • Inactivity: People who smoke, on average, are less physically active than people who don’t smoke. Inactivity can result in a higher frequency of back pain in general.

    Unfortunately, pain associated with DDD can make an active lifestyle that much more difficult to enjoy.

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    Contact International Spine Institute For Back Pain Relief

    If you or someone you know experiences chronic back pain and smokes tobacco, we encourage you to visit your primary care provider for smoking cessation programs or other behavioral interventions that may help kick the habit.

    While quitting smoking can help to reduce the amount of pain you are experiencing, you may also need to consider surgery in order to fully treat your condition. Contact International Spine Institute to learn more about your options for back pain relief & schedule your consultation today.

    How To Quit Smoking For Good

    Have all of these facts convinced you to quit smoking? We really hope so. If so, you should know that it absolutely can be done, with the right resources.

    There’s just nothing good that comes out of smoking, Dr. Mukai asserts, adding that quitting smoking can help with pain in the long run. She believes that several therapies can help someone quit smoking, such as medications, cognitive behavioral therapy, and shes also seen good results from hypnosis and acupuncture.

    There are many reasons to quit smoking today, Dr. Zikel says. Quitting not only increases your lifespan, but the quality of life, with less risk of chronic disease and pain. I recommend that those who want to quit talk to their primary care physicians about a treatment plan which, depending on the individual, can include nicotine replacement therapy, counseling, and support.

    He shares a final thought, saying, As I tell my patients, smoking cessation is one of the greatest achievements of your life.

    Intro: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking is down, but almost 38 million American adults still smoke

    Intro: Cureus. Association Between Smoking and Back Pain in a Cross-Section of Adult Americans

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    How Smoking Affects Your Brain

    Additionally, there are two parts of the brain that communicate with each other during chronic pain- the nucleus accumbens and the medial prefrontal cortex. These two areas of the brain talk to each other more during times in chronic pain. In theminds of smokers, these two areas have stronger connections, demonstrating that those who smoke are more susceptible to experiencing episodes of pain. However, when people voluntarily stop smoking, communication between these two parts of the brain decrease. Therefore, the risk of chronic back pain is increased in those who smoke compared to those who do not .

    Nicotine And General Anesthesia

    Does Smoking Cause Low Back Pain?

    The effects of smoking tobacco can begin with administration of general anesthesia, which is commonly used for spine surgery. First, nicotine increases heart rate, meaning your heart is pumping more and working harder. Blood pressure may increase and because nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, blood vessels narrow. People who smoke produce more mucus that may affect the airway and complicate breathing while under anesthesia. Additional medication may be needed to increase oxygen intake.

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    When Should I See A Doctor If I Have Lower Back Pain

    In many cases lower back pain stops on its own. But if it doesnt, here are some guidelines on when you may want to start seeking professional help:

    • If the pain lasts four weeks or longer
    • If the pain keeps getting worse as time goes by
    • If you are experiencing other symptoms, such as fever, major weight loss or weight gain, loss of function or weakness in extremities, bladder problems, etc.

    Smoking Can Cause Chronic Back Pain Studies Show

    Smoking is injurious to health, smoking causes lung cancer, no smoking allowed.

    Rings a bell? Of course it does. You may have seen this in public places, restaurants, offices, clubs, theatres etc.

    Most importantly, right on the pack of cigarettes available in most stores. All of us are taught right from the school days that smoking is harmful to our body and one should refrain from smoking. Yet, a sizable fraction of our populace ends up doing just the opposite.

    Why does this still happen?

    It is said that most people begin smoking when they are in their teen years and do it because of the peer pressure from friends.

    It can also happen because they see their parents smoke and want to give it a shot, or they try to imitate some onscreen icon.

    Often people think it is more of an in-thing and in no time they get used to it so much that they cannot do without it and increase their intake. Over the years, they smoke not for the very reason they did for the first time but for whole other reasons. They get typecast as Chain Smokers, someone who cannot keep their hands off cigarettes.

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    Smoking leads to Chronic Back Pain ample studies to show

    Since the first studies published in the 1950s about the harmful effects of smoking on ones health, numerous health issues have been linked to cigarettes, including lung diseases, heart disease, cervical cancer, high cholesterol and blood clotting, among others.

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