According to new studies, there exists a link between cigarette smoking and pain along the spine (including low back pain, neck pain and joint pain) as people who smoke are at a greater risk of developing chronic back pain than the people who do not smoke.
Increased Risk of Back Pain with Smoking
According to a study, smoking cigarettes enhances the activity of the brain that reduces the ability of the body to combat with chronic back pain.
The brain scans show two important areas in the brain which play an important role in the association of back pain with smoking.
Both of these areas are also involved in motivated learning and behaviour development. It is proved from studies that the stronger the connection between these two areas, the lesser is the ability of the individual to combat chronic back pain.
It was noticed from research that the persons who smoked regularly, had a stronger connection between these two brain areas as compared to the persons who do not smoke. Thus, the risk of such individuals for having a chronic back pain is increased.
People with chronic back pain smoke more to get relief, which actually worsens the condition
According to some research, patients who have chronic back pain smoke tobacco for pain management. However, in reality, this worsens the condition as it can reduce oxygen supply and blood flow to important structures in the back.
Oxygen deprivation causes acute inflammation or superimposed inflammation over already present back pain.
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How smoking interferes with chronic pain management
Researchers say that smoking interferes with chronic pain management and pain treatment by:
- Exacerbation of painful medical conditions smoking is very harmful to the human body and often leads to diseases which cause chronic pain, not to mention that it can build up in the blood vessels and lead to complications.
- Increasing the perception of pain. Studies show that smoking increases pain sensitivity and the patient perceive the pain more acutely.
- Interference with painkillers. Smokers require a more quantity of medicines for pain relief. Commonly used medications in this regard are aspirin and narcotics. Large doses of both drugs are required to reduce pain in the persons who smoke.
How to quit smoking
According to a report, quitting smoking probably does not reduce significantly their back pain, but it helps in this regard. Also, quitting this habit also lowers the risk of heart diseases significantly as well as some other diseases like lung cancer, etc.
What is the solution?
If you are a smoker and are facing back pain, your first and foremost priority must be to quit tobacco. Although it is difficult to quit smoking because it has a habitual potential, here are some tips you can use for smoking cessation.
You may start trying to quit smoking on your own at first by using methods such as nicotine replacements. However, quitting to smoke can be quite a challenging task that may require intervention from professionals who specialise in such matters. A good first step may be asking for help from your primary care provider, who can point you in the right direction.
Author: Spinal Backrack