Smoking May Cause Back ProblemsSmoking May Cause Back Problems So it’s been a long recognized fact that smoking is bad for your lungs, but something you might be interested in knowing is that it may also be causing problems with your back. Cigarette smoke has recently been shown to break down cells, discolor skin and teeth, make hair and skin look dull and aged, and of course be problematic with cancers. Now, Bogdan Petre, the lead author of a study being overseen at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine has seen that smoking could be giving you chronic back pain. The University of Rochester states: “Smoking cessation either prior to treatment or during the course of care was related to significant improvements in pain—a result that underlines the need for structured stop-smoking programs among the legions of patients who experience back pain due to degenerative disease, deformity, or musculoskeletal problems.”
This is just one more item on a very long list of problems that smoking seems to enhance in people. Whether you’ve been smoking all of your life, or you just started today, this information could be useful in your quest to quit, especially if you’ve been experiencing back pain and weren’t sure about possible treatment options. The Link To Chronic Back Pain It seems like an odd symptom to suddenly link to cigarettes, especially when it isn’t a region that is likely to come into contact with a cigarette or even the smoke, but the study performed by Northwestern found that those who smoke are three times more likely to be sore than nonsmokers when it comes to chronic back pain.
The reason for the beliefs comes in the way that smoking affects the human brain. It seems to respond in a way that makes people react more intensely to the pain. Those who were tested during the study were found to have a problem with signals transmitted to ease pain in the back; because of this the chronic pain seems intensified and may not dissipate as quickly. Spine-Health.com says: “Researchers discovered that smoking history, hypertension and coronary artery disease – all of which are risk factors for atherosclerosis, or occlusion of the arteries – were significantly associated with the development of low back pain.”
This brain and back association seems to stem from research carried out in the past that revolved around addiction and reward and the part of the brain that was associated with this. The study that was conducted was published in the online journal of Human Brain Mapping and has since become a blueprint for future research cases. The Study Period During the study on back pain caused by smoking 160 cases were reviewed, and MRI brain scans were given to rate back ache intensity and a surveys were filled out for smoking history and status. Thirty five control subjects and thirty two subjects with chronic back pain were reviewed and using information gathered from the nucleus accumbens, and medial prefrontal cortex, they found that chronic pain and smoking is linked. Science Daily states: “These two regions of the brain “talk” to one another and scientists discovered that the strength of that connection helps determine who will become a chronic pain patient.
By showing how a part of the brain involved in motivated learning allows tobacco addiction to interface with pain chronification, the findings hint at a potentially more general link between addiction and pain.” This has brought about more questions involving smoking and other forms of pain. Headaches, muscular and joint pain, and general aches and pains may all be involved with smoking. This also opens doors in regards to what second hand smoke might cause in terms of pain. So far no studies have been undergone to show the connection between second hand cigarette smoke and chronic pain disorders, but if there is a possibility for those who smoke, there is always a possibility for those who don’t, but who come into contact with it regularly.
Getting Help For Your Back If chronic back pain is a problem that you’ve been encountering in your life, speaking to your doctor may be helpful in discovering not only a treatment, but a cause. Getting to the root of a problem, especially one that causes pain is often the only long term cure available. Finding this evidence that smoking and chronic back pain might be related is rewarding, and helpful in the fight against smoking related deaths and conditions. Back pain can be treated in a number of different ways including medication and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.
Some doctors may also prescribe certain forms of physical therapy such as massage. No matter which treatment you decide to take on for your back pain, considering ditching the cigarettes for a healthy and happy back might be a good idea, and this also applies to those suffering from second hand smoke.
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