Recent studies have discovered a connection between low back pain and smoking. According to the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, when 5300 people were tracked for eight months, smokers showed higher signs of spinal disorders than non-smokers or people who had quit.

Organized programs made for quitting smoking can reduce back pain complaints among smokers with deformity, degenerative disease, and musculoskeletal problems.

According to the University of Rochester & Medical Center, when an individual quits smoking, he drastically reduces his chances of developing symptoms of back pain and other back related complications. Although research has identified a link between back pain and smoking, a majority of health professionals still feel that relationship between smoking and low back pain is controversial and contradictory.

Can Smoking Cause Back Pain

Lower back pain is one of the most common complains by individuals in the United States. Researchers are working hard to establish the factors that go into causing lower back pain. Smoking is one such identified factor. Your spine will only be able to cope up with the pressure asserted on it if the blood supply is enough. There is a chance of pain or pressure if your spine experiences more pressure than it can bear.

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Nicotine contains analgesic properties. According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, smokers have a greater chance of developing lower back pain and other chronic diseases. Nicotine disturbs the protein family (nAChR). These protein elements play a major role in controlling anxiety and pain in the central and peripheral nervous system.  Regular smoking impairs the functions of these cells and alters the way in which this pain travels forward. It hinders the supply of oxygen to your muscle tissues, leading a person to bone and joint disorders.

Smokers with spinal conditions also experience severe pain and disabilities. Nicotine limits the flow of blood to your discs that acts as a pad for your vertebrae. It elevates the pace of degenerative change, reduces calcium absorption, and hinders new bone growth. Therefore, smokers are twice likely to develop osteoporotic fracture when compared to non-smokers.

The major effect of smoking on your spine is that smoking adds to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis builds up material inside blood vessels. This build up reduces the blood supply to spots through small vessels. These small vessels supply blood through an intricate connection to your bones and discs. Atherosclerosis results in the deterioration of your spine, as it is not able to heal itself and causes back pain. In this way, smoking and back pain are closely connected with each other.

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Osteoblast, which is a bone cell, supports your spine to heal itself. This cell constructs bone tissue. Nicotine adds to the addictive properties and hampers the activity of your osteoblasts. Reduced osteoblast activity from nicotine decreases the bones of the spine to regenerate.

Nicotine affects the manners in which your brain routes the stimuli and its central awareness. Cigarettes may affect the way in which your brain sends the pain signals your body. Smoking may also harm the tissues in the back by reducing blood circulation and limiting the stream of nutrients to the bones and joints.

A longitudinal research showed that lower back pain was thrice more likely to advance with continuous smoking. Scientists observed functional MRI results, which signaled brain pathways that are engaged in the process. But a thorough research is needed to completely understand the mechanism. The scientists observed that by comparing smoking and non- smoking participants. Smokers had a connection between the accumbens and prefrontal cortex, elevating their risk of chronic back pain. Researchers also established that young individuals who smoke regularly may experience more back pain then adult smokers.

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Smoking is simply injurious to health. Back pain is one of the many side effects of smoking and a motivation for smokers to quit this degrading habit, which can reduce the overall quality and longevity of their life.