Back Pain and Disc disease another great reason to kick the habit!!

We all know that smoking has detrimental effects on many of the bodies functions. It increases risk of cancer of lung and mouth, stroke, heart attacks, lung diseases to name a few. To see a more exhaustive list go to the Quit Line page  or the Victorian Government Better Health pages.

Some of the less known issues that are relevant to people in pain is that smoking is able to increase the increase the muscle tension which can prolong issues with muscle pains and slow recovery.

A recent study by Schroeder, Kepler and Hilibrand (2016) shows that smoking increases the risks of many types of complications following spinal surgery.

They explain that both the decrease in oxygen and the direct toxic effect of the compounds found in cigarette smoke cause increase in destructive enzymes that will prevent bone from healing as it inhibits the repair cells from working. It also will increase the rate of disc degeneration.Logically this will effect the skin, connective tissue, ligaments, cartilage and all body tissues.

Smoking speeds up damage and degeneration of the spine and reduces the response to both conservative and surgical interventions.

Not smoking but vaping with e-cigarettes?

You may be at risk of these effects too.

Many doctors recognise that nicotine alone is enough to constrict blood flow to slow wound healing and directly can effect bone healing. (source)

Vaping and e-cigarettes can be just as harmful as the real thing as there are a number of very toxic chemicals that are being inhaled in a concentrated form. These may include acetone, acetaldehyde (a class 1 carcinogen), benzopyrene, lead and many more. So beware of the marketing that suggests these are safe as the are potentially toxic, and typically not screened or regulated by any governmental agency (at this time).

As nicotine alone has these effects it is likely that patches can also slow down the healing rate.  So whilst they are useful to change the habit it is worth getting to the point they are not in your life too.

If you are looking to get the most out of your treatment cut down on smoking will help, and eliminating it will be the best. Given time the body can reverse many of the changes from smoking.

Not only is it good for your back it is good for the hip pocket too.

Eliminating smoking is a complex issue for people smoke for many reasons so the process may be different for each person.

If you need help with reducing smoking there are many avenues that can assist. The Quit line is a good start.

If stress, anxiety and depression could be a trigger, New Access by beyond blue may be able to help too.

Did you know that acupuncture may possibly be able to help too? Ask your practitioner more about it.

Image credits under the creative commons 2.0 license
Breathe by Pingz Man from Flikr
No Vaping by Mike Mozart from Flikr
Happy by Carmela Nava from Flikr