Studies Show Cigarette Smoking Causes Chronic Back Pain
You probably experienced back pain. At some point everyone has. Did you ever ask yourself if your smoking has something to do with your back pain?
Smoking Hurts Your Back
You should have, because it turns out that cigarette smoking has a direct influence on many aspects of your health and back pain is just one of them.
How does smoking influence back pain? Does cigarette smoking play any role in new-onset back pain development into chronic one?
One of my summer jobs involved lifting heavy items and somehow I found lifting with my legs a hard concept to grasp. As a result afterwards my nickname for that summer was “grandpa”.
What I experienced was a normal back pain, which I earned with hard work and stupidity. Chronic back pain is completely different and much nastier thing. My pain went away when I changed the way I lifted stuff but chronic pain takes prescription medication to fight it.
Search For Relief
Taking prescription painkillers, like smoking cigarettes, has many negative side effects. One of the major issues with prescription painkillers is a risk of development of strong addiction. But even with strong medication only about 58% of chronic back pain sufferers get relief they desire.
You might say that your nicotine addiction doesn’t have any influence on your chronic back pain. It actually feels like cigarette smoking decreases intensity of the pain. Cigarette smokers in general are more likely to lead unhealthier life so maybe this is just a coincidence.
You are like a hostage with a Stockholm syndrome. You got used to being a hostage and you like your kidnapper – the cigarette. Smoking doesn’t give you anything positive but you grasp for straws to justify this nicotine addiction. If you really want to feel relief you know that you should quit smoking cigarettes. Relief that you feel when you smoke is just a distraction.
Cigarette IS The Problem
Smoking a cigarette allows you to switch focus for these few minutes. Your back pain didn’t decrease in intensity and it didn’t go away. You tricked your mind and as long as it is concerned – if you didn’t think about the pain, you didn’t feel it. But it is still there.
Researchers have conducted a study, during which they monitored over 1300 people for more than 50 years. Cigarette smoking was a major factor in development of chronic back pain. Smoking is a major cause of hypertension, coronary artery disease and this way negatively influences back pain.
This study followed 1337 physicians who graduated from Johns Hopkins University and oldest participant was monitored for 53 years. This long-term study has shown that high blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and other blood circulation issues play major role in development of chronic back pain.
Cigarette smoking has a devastating effect on your whole body and blood circulation system is no exception.
Study has shown that all other variables remaining the same cigarette smoking is a major factor in development of chronic back pain. Results are very clear – if you want to get rid of back pain you need to quit smoking cigarettes right away.
Smoking Impairs Your Ability to Heal
Every time you move you damage your spine a bit. This damage is repaired constantly by your body but when you smoke you provide less and lower quality materials. This way smoking has a direct physical impact and is a cause of your chronic back pain. ?This study has proven a connection between chronic back pain and smoking but it took another study to find out how and exactly why occasional back pain we all feel develops into something you have to live with for weeks, months and years.
Nicotine addiction has another way it influences development of chronic back pain. Pain is not something physical. You can’t touch, taste or see pain. Your brain gets signals and it interprets them.
Smoking Alters Your Brain
Smokers are three times more likely to develop chronic back pain than nonsmokers. How and why cigarette smoking has such negative effect on your back? Smoking affects connections in your brain that play a role in addictive behavior and motivated learning. This way smoking is a major factor of development not only of back, but of other chronic pains as well.
Strong connection between two brain regions of nucleus accumbens and the medial prefrontal cortex influences your resilience to chronic pain. Smoking makes connection between these two parts of your brain stronger and this way it influences vulnerability to chronic pain.
You Can Fix It
This damage is not permanent. Even if you smoked for decades quitting nicotine addiction decrease these connections.
Researchers saw dramatic drop in this brain connection in smokers who quit smoking cigarettes. Their vulnerability to chronic pain decreased which means that damage is not permanent. If you quit smoking you can reduce the intensity of chronic back pain.
If you are experiencing chronic back pain, quitting smoking is the first step you should take in order to eliminate this issue from your life.
Nicotine Is Poison
This is another reason why quitting using nicotine replacement therapy, using nicotine gum, patches or other nicotine containing products, is not as great as ads show it.?In order to reduce back pain you need to eliminate nicotine from your life.
Nicotine promotes unhealthy brain connections, it damages nerves and reduces ability of your body to mend itself.
Smoking cigarettes attacks your back from two fronts – by damaging your body and altering your brain. Decreasing the amount of toxic chemicals you consume might lead to some improvements of your condition but you will be still addicted to nicotine and you will still be making those brain connections stronger.
In order to make chronic back pain a thing of the past you need to stop consumption of nicotine be it in a form of cigarette, cigar, e-cigarette or patches.