You may think you know all the possible side effects of smoking - lung cancer, asthma, emphysema, chronic coughing, and heart disease. Two new studies are adding back pain to the list.
One study followed over 1300 physicians, some for as many as 50 years. The doctors with smoking history, hypertension (high blood pressure), and coronary artery disease were all significantly linked with lower back pain. The progression is clear. Smoking restricts blood flow throughout your body, including your spine. This reduced blood flow can lead to degenerative spinal issues.
Smoking has also been linked with an increased risk of osteoporosis, a thinning of your bone that makes it more susceptible to fracture. The entire skeletal system is at risk, including your neck and spine. Spinal fractures lead to pain at the site of the fracture as well as radiating pain down the legs.
If you are a smoker, ask your doctor about recommended methods to quit. Nicotine addiction is powerful, but it is not impossible to overcome. Your spine will thank you.