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Cigarette Smoking Could Cause Back Pain

sciatica treatment traction

Deadly Connection: Cigarette Smoking Could Cause Back Pain


Never thought of this before, right? Whether you believe it or not, cigarette smoking is subtly connected to back pain. Research shows that continuous smoking habit leads to formation of plaque in the arteries that reduce the flow of oxygen and blood required to maintain the correct circulatory functions. Not only that, cigarette smoking also severely affects the energy levels and vitality of a person.


An Alarming Statistics (back pain and smoking)

Cigarette smoking has long been known attributed to causes of several cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks, lung and oral cancers, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), stroke, asthma and diabetes. The statistics are alarming when looking at the figures. Cigarette accounts for more than 4,70,000 deaths every year, with 2,74,000 men and almost equal number of women. Cancer due to smoking claims about 3,17,000 deaths a year, and these figures are only on the upslope. However, recent studies have also established connections between smoking and back pain.


Several researches have indicated that smoking drastically increases the risk of back pain by about 30%. In addition to that, the smokers may also notice pain in the neck, joints, shoulders, and hips. Though the cause has not been pin pointed yet, but one of the possible reasons have been indicated as the reduced supply of oxygen and reduced blood circulation due to the poor cardiovascular activities, leading to possible damage to the general musculo-skeletal tissues, irregularity in the blood flow, increased blood clotting risks, reduced levels of nutrients in the tissues of  joints and back.


Cigarette, apart from the most harmful nicotine, contains more than 4000 other harmful chemicals and about 70 carcinogenic (cancer causing compounds) and 400 other toxins. Together, there are more than 7300 harmful chemicals in the cigarette. Some of the carcinogenic substances are tar, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic, and DDT.


How Can Cigarette Smoking Cause Back Pain?

The health and yoga experts would admit that the back pain is attributable to unregulated breathing methods. Due to unhealthy lifestyle habits, smoking being one of them, the flow of oxygen through the various muscles, tissues, tendons and ligaments is affected drastically. Excessive smoking can lead to development of clogs in the large and medium arteries.  This further restrains the deep breathing process in the lungs.


Yoga says that an average human being only uses 2,50,000 alveoli (or air sacs in the lungs) out of 7,50,000 alveoli. This means that under normal conditions also, a person is utilizing only 30% of his complete lung capacity. With smoking implemented in the lifestyle, this percentage goes down even further and hampers the regulated flow of oxygen and blood in the various channels of the body including the spinal cord and the vertebral column.


Due to reduced supply of oxygen, the blood vessels cannot relax properly, and start to shrink, further restraining the oxygen supply. This manifests in the various points of the body as pain, including the pain in the back.

Still awaiting a conclusive outcome about smoking and back pain

Though these studies link cigarette smoking to back pain, however, they still await a conclusive outcome. But the results and the hypotheses cannot be denied outright. Breathing and back pain are interrelated and any changes in the breathing pattern due to natural or artificial reasons directly impacts the vertebral column.


The message is aptly clear, that though not conclusive, the smokers who witness back pain must not take the condition lightly. Reducing on smoking may not immediately reduce the effects, but is definitely a stepping stone to recovery.


Though there are several anti-nicotine products available in the market today, quitting is more of a matter of individual determination and perseverance. It requires commitment, dedication and will on the part of the individual to accept a healthy life and get rid of smoking. In the beginning, what might seem difficult can be easily overcome by a simple start. When using anti-tobacco products, it is always advisable to seek the help of the doctors and experts, and discuss with them how to go about the process. It is essential that the person willing to undergo the recovery process renders his complete faith in the person trying to help him out, as he is the only one to whom the addict can fall back during times of mental struggle against the addiction.


With the right will and attitude, smoking can definitely be given up. When one chooses to quit, it is not only a change, but a positive transformational process, where the victim has to pass himself through the critical process of self-introspection and work constructively to recover from such conditions. It is the will, not the medicines, which will get him on the other side of the line, eventually!

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