Smoking and Your Spine: The Hidden Danger
By Krista Elliott
As many of us know, smoking is a hard habit to shake ... and a nasty one. Fortunately, California is leading the way when it comes to going smoke-free, with only 11.6 percent of the population smoking, according to 2014 numbers. But, even if you don't smoke, you might have friends or family who do, especially if they live in smoking-heavy states like West Virginia, Kentucky, or Arkansas.
We all know the health risks of smoking; we've been told about them for years. Bronchitis, lung cancer, throat cancer, emphysema, mouth cancer, and more.
But what has flown under the radar is the risk that smoking poses to your joints and spine.
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes ... And Other Body Parts
You might not be surprised that smoking can harm your joints and spine, necessitating use of a chiropractor, but what might surprise you is that vaping poses many of the same risks. So if you vape or know someone who does, pay attention.
Here are some of the risks:
Smoker’s cough, besides keeping you up at night, can lead to subluxations in the cervical spine from all that straining and hacking.
Because nicotine restricts the flow of nutrient and oxygen-rich blood to the discs in your back, your spine may be more vulnerable to injury and premature spinal degeneration.
Smoking hinders your body's ability to absorb calcium, which can lead to a decrease in bone density and bone mineral content. This can increase a person's risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
Smokers and vapers are slow to heal, be it wounds or fractures, due to decreased oxygen levels and collagen production. This may lead to inflammation and prolonged pain.
Surgeries, such as spinal fusion, may not be as successful in smokers or vapers. One reason for this is the lowered oxygen levels and heightened levels of harmful chemicals in a smoker's (or vaper's) blood, increasing inflammation and hindering healing.
Smoking often goes hand in hand with other bad habits, such as eating poorly and not exercising. This can lead to weight gain, which is hard on your back, knee, and hip joints. Not getting enough nutrients for healthy bones, and reduced muscle strength needed for skeletal support, also puts you at risk for illness or injury.
How Can a Chiropractor Help?
By seeking chiropractic care at The Joint Chiropractic, you're putting time and energy into your own health and well-being, which can be the first step toward stopping smoking. And if you do have subluxations caused by smoking, gentle and precise adjustments from The Joint can get you feeling better, with improved range of motion and reduced pain. With routine treatment from The Joint, you might find yourself feeling so great, you'll be inspired to toss your smokes away for good!
So pop by any of The Joint's over 360 nationwide locations today, and see how visiting The Joint is like a breath of fresh air!