Smokings Direct Connection to Back Pain
Multiple studies across the international science community have revealed that for those who smoke, back pain is a statistically higher complaint. In fact, this correlation is thought to be so high because both tobacco smoking and back pain are separately considered to be high priority public health concerns.
Statistics for adult Americans state that 22 million people are afflicted with back pain every year. Furthermore, statistics estimate that about 20% of American adults are smokers, despite the public health priority being to reduce this number to 12% in coming years and eventually zero. For chiropractors, there is an opportunity to help 20% of their patient population with both back problems and their smoking addictions.
Science has several theories regarding the link between back pain and smoking. Some theorists believe that people often stick to smoking because the nicotine in cigarettes has an effect that helps them deal with pain of the musculoskeletal system. Another theory is that the repetitive cough of a smoker can lead to disc herniation and thus back pain. For other researchers, there is the sense that smoking’s reduction of blood flow to the intervertebral discs of the spine create early degeneration of the back.
Interestingly, informal research has been conducted by chiropractors working with military personnel, who have a high incidence of smoking tobacco. These chiropractors will often advise patients against smoking while citing potential back pain as a possible negative outcome. This is based on the fact that smoking has been shown to degenerate many systems of the body.
Chiropractors who seek to help their patients quit smoking have many public health resources available to them. For people who are suffering from acute back pain, a suggestion that it’s cause may be linked to smoking might be just enough of a consideration to help them to make that commitment to cutting the life threatening habit from their lives. For those who find making this commitment difficult, having the support of a professional health care provider like a chiropractor can be a great motivating power.
Chiropractors can advise their patients who smoke to free smoking cessation services offered by The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. The possibility of lessening the prevalence of back pain, which has become one of the major modern health problems of our time, by also decreasing the numbers of smokers, suggests better overall health for future generations.