A Pain in the (Cigarette) Butt – How Smoking Causes Back Pain

Are you a smoker with back pain? Then listen up because the two may be related. Studies over the years have shown that individuals who smoke have reported more frequent and more painful back pain compared to individuals who did not smoke. Not only does smoking increase the likelihood of lower back pain, but it also increases the risk of intervertebral (spine) disc disease. Similarly, those who smoke and received back surgery, had inferior results than non-smokers who went through the same surgery.

The December 2012 Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, also found that smokers suffering from spinal disorders and related back pain, reported greater discomfort than spinal disorder patients who stopped smoking during an eight-month treatment period.

Dr. Glenn R. Rechtine is the one who conducted the study saying, “We know that nicotine increases pain. In this study, if you quit smoking during treatment, you got better.” He concludes, “If you continued to smoke, there was statistically no improvement, regardless of the treatment you had.”

How to Quit for Good

Not only are cigarettes putting your overall health at risk, but they are also making your back pain worse. For those that suffer chronic back pain, you know the desperate feeling of finding relief. That relief can come almost immediately when you stop smoking. However, don’t call it quits on your own; get the support of a doctor as well as a support group.

Reader’s Digest offers 25 interesting ways to quit smoking, one being to write two lists – one of all the reasons you love smoking, and the second all the hate smoking. For example, you may love that cigarettes offer you a stress relief, but hate the way it makes you smell or endangers your health. Making this list will hopefully show you that the negatives of smoking outweigh the positives. Not only that, but most of the positives associated with smoking can be replaced with a healthier habit. For example, if you smoke to keep stress at bay, you may find that you love weekly massages more, and surprisingly they will be more affordable in the long run.

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