It is a widely known fact that smoking cigarettes is bad for your health. Smoking leads to lung cancer, many other types of cancer, COPD, emphysema, skin changes, poor teeth and gums and the list goes on. But did you know that smoking could actually be causing your neck pain?
A new study shows that patients who smoke have significantly higher rates of neck and back pain than patients who do not smoke. Smoking can lead to degenerative joint disease by decreasing the blood flow to the cushion in-between your vertebrae that acts like a shock. Also calcium is not absorbed into bones the way it should be in smokers which decreases new bone growth and puts you at greater risk for a fracture. Arthritis is much more common among smokers and could be adding to your neck problems. There are many other reasons for a person to have neck pain, but with these new studies it’s hard to ignore the fact that smoking is a huge modifiable risk factor for your pain.
Don’t look at the list of risk factors of smoking as a list of “things to come” but as a reason to stop smoking now. While quitting is a pain in the neck, stopping can help reduce your risks of developing smoking side effects including neck pain. Talk with your doctor about your pain and smoking history.