Back pain is such a common problem that it can affect just about anybody. While most back pain comes directly from a separate diagnosis, illness, or problem, some back pain can come from a common habit to which many people wouldnt even consider linking the pain: smoking.
Everybody knows some of the more obvious dangers and warnings about smoking, but only recently are doctors linking some lower back pain symptoms to regular smoking. It has been discovered that the chances of suffering from sciatica, or pain that starts at the lower back but also radiates out to the hips and down the legs, is dramatically increased by regularly smoking. Some research has even gone as far to say that smokers have a higher risk of lower back pain than non-smokers. What are the reasons behind this link? There are actually several.
Spinal discs are responsible for cushioning the bones of the vertebrae, and they can be damaged with straining or even from age, which is normal body deterioration, and can result in a herniated or slipped disc. However, smoking can damage these discs even further by clogging up the arteries which provide a supply of blood and oxygen to the lower spinal region. Also, smoking can block and impair the bodys ability to deliver necessary nutrients to these spinal discs, causing further deterioration. The bodys failed delivery of nutrition to the tissues of the spine can result in back aches.
Cigarettes themselves possess characteristics that can link them to back pain. Nicotine, for example, impairs the brains ability to send pain signals. Also, people who develop a chronic cough due to cigarette smoking can experience severe back pain while coughing. If you end up coughing hard enough, it can cause serious injury to the backs muscles, leaving you with a strain, pulled muscle, or sprain. Smoking can also slow down the bodys healing process, which can make pain worse for patients suffering from existing back injuries or even previous back surgeries.
How can smoking-related back pain be treated? The more obvious solution is to quit smoking, but there are other ways to perhaps alleviate the more severe pain if quitting isnt an option for you. Remaining physically fit with proper diet and exercise can definitely help relieve your sore back. Calcium and Vitamin D supplements can help with this, as they will strengthen your backs bones. Stretching and various specific strengthening exercises can also aide with sore back by increasing the strength and flexibility of your backs muscles, along with sleeping with a pillow positioned between your legs while on your side. Using proper lifting and pushing techniques when dealing with heavy labor or items, as well as practicing good posture when standing, walking, or sitting, will always save your back from any trauma or severe pain. Be sure to visit a doctor when pain becomes too severe or unbearable, as he or she may be able to come up with a more viable option to manage your pain.