Smokers in More Pain Than Non-Smokers

Smokers in More Pain Than Non-Smokers

Smoking accounts for more than 440,000 deaths each year in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. There are numerous health risks that come from tobacco use including various forms of cancer, infertility, coronary heart disease, and much more.

The December 2012 issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery released information that linked smoking with spinal disorders and back pain, according to a study. Patients who smoked and had a spinal condition reported greater scores of pain and discomfort than patients who stopped smoking during their eight-month long treatment period.

At American Spine, we encourage all of our patients to quit smoking (or never start) not only to reduce back pain, but also to encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Dr. Glenn R. Rechtine led the study and said, “We know that nicotine increases pain. 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.” The results were based off of analysis from 5,333 individuals.

The consumption of nicotine, in any form (smoking, chewing) deteriorates the discs in the spine, depriving them of proper oxygen and nutrients. The discs are subject to rupture and damage when they lose these essential nutrients. The carbon monoxide from inhaling a cigarette doesn’t allow the tissues of the spine to absorb calcium and manipulates the vertebral structure.

The University of Michigan Health System compiled some interesting facts about smoking and back pain:

  • Smokers are roughly 2.7 times more likely to develop low back pain than non-smokers
  • Smokers are more likely to have back pain as they get older
  • Women smokers are more likely to have low back pain than men
  • Smoking is the cause of degenerating spinal discs

If you or someone you know is suffering from chronic back pain or neck pain and is a smoker, quit today! American Spine physicians will provide patients with any assistance or additional information about how they can get healthier by kicking the habit.

Dr. Sial, and the experienced staff at each facility, lead with a multidisciplinary therapeutic approach to pain care. They understand and assess acute and chronic pain appropriately using state of the art techniques to improve function and relieve pain. New patients are always welcome. To schedule an appointment and set up a consultation with American Spine, call today or visit them online.

The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.

©American Spine, 2013

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