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How Smoking Is Bad for Your Spine

By Sara Butler

You’re probably more than aware that smoking is bad for your overall health and wellness. But did you know it’s also bad for the health of your spine? If you smoke and suffer from back pain, then your cigarettes may be to blame. There are several ways that smoking damages your spine and some of these may surprise you.

What Happens with Just One Puff

When you smoke a cigarette, your heart beats faster. This causes your blood pressure to increase, which then increases the tension in your muscles. Carbon monoxide enters your bloodstream too, depriving your body of oxygen that helps your body to function and heal. This is what makes smoking so dangerous to your health, as well as the health of your spine.

Bone Density Decreases

When you smoke, your bone density can decrease. This increases your risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition that causes your bones to weaken and makes them more susceptible to fracture as you get older. This can also contribute to neck and back pain as it increases muscle weakness, pain in the extremities, and muscle cramps.

Blood Flow Impairment

Smoking restricts blood flow over your entire body, including the blood that nourishes your spine and its individual structures. Your spine needs nutrients and oxygen in order to stay healthy and strong. When you smoke and reduce the number of nutrients it gets, then problems can develop over time leading to increased back pain and contributing to degenerative conditions.

Smoking Impairs Healing

Many studies have shown that smokers take longer to heal than those who don’t smoke. That means if you need surgery and you’re a smoker, you will take longer to recover. It also means that your bones may never fully heal from injuries or fractures, and smokers have a higher risk of developing infections and blood clots after surgery, too.

You Get Less Exercise

When you smoke, you’re more sedentary since you get winded quickly. Your lungs have been damaged by the smoke and deoxygenated blood makes you feel more fatigued and tired. When your heart and lungs aren't functioning at their best, then simple movements can become more difficult and even painful. If you want to maintain a healthy spine, you need to stay active. Inactivity will only cause your mobility to decrease, which puts your spine at a greater risk.

Smoking can be difficult to quit, but don't forget the chiropractors at The Joint want to help you live a healthy life, so they are a great resource for tips to help you kick the habit for good.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.

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