Forty-two million Americans smoke cigarettes. On November 19, the American Cancer Society will hold the Great American Smokeout’s to encourage smokers to kick the habit for good. Need another reason to quit? Studies show that smoking contributes to chronic back pain.

According to new research, smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to suffer from an aching back. A study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases concluded that smoking raised the risk of debilitating back pain by about 30 percent. Smoking also causes people to be more vulnerable to pain in the neck, shoulders, elbows, hands, hips and knees.

How could smoking cause back pain?

Smoking damages tissue in the lower back by slowing down circulation and reducing the flow of nutrients to joints and muscles, increasing degeneration. Nicotine reduces calcium absorption and prevents new bone growth. Smokers have double the risk of an osteoporotic fracture.

Also, smoking causes pain because cigarettes affect the way the brain sends its pain signals.

Should I give up smoking for the sake of my back?

As reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, smokers who suffer from back pain have every reason to say no to cigarettes. Giving up smoking won’t immediately stop back pain, but it will help. If you need more encouragement, quitting also dramatically lowers the risk of heart disease, cancer and many more diseases.

For more information on how to ease your aching back, call us at 253-841-8939 to make an appointment today.