Smoking and Back Pain – Butt Out!


A builder might blame his jackhammer for his sore back.  An office worker might chalk up that ache to an uncomfortable chair – fair enough, but if either person happens to be a smoker, there might just be a different explanation for their pain!

It is no surprise that smoking is bad for your overall health, it increases your heart rate and blood pressure.  It escalates tension in muscles and releases carbon monoxide into the bloodstream – and that is after just one puff!!

We all know that it is important to keep your spine healthy by eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water and staying active, however when smoking is added into the equation, the risk of further spinal problems increases and can prevent the body from healing.

Back pain is one of the top reasons for G.P. visits and missed work days.  Up to 80% of U.K. residents will suffer from back pain at some point during their lives.  The more you know about your spine, the easier it will be to keep it in optimum health.

Below are 4 major ways smoking can be damaging to the spine.

1.   Smoking impairs blood flow and deprives the spinal tissues of nutrients and oxygen which is needed to stay strong and healthy.

2.   Bone density can decrease in smokers, which increases the risk of developing osteoporosis – a condition that weakens the bones and makes them more likely to fracture.  This can cause significant back and neck pain along with weakness, pain and cramping.

3.   Physical activity decreases due to deoxygenated blood and damage to the lungs.  When these main components of the cardiovascular system begin to weaken, something as simple as walking up a flight of stairs can become difficult and even painful.

Since staying active is vital for spinal health, any activity that reduces mobility will have a negative impact on the spine.

4.   Smoking can prevent healing.  Studies show that smokers take a significantly longer time to heal after surgery than non-smokers.  Smokers also have a greater risk of developing blood clots and infections during recovery.

Giving up cigarettes probably won’t immediately banish back pain – but it just might help!

Should you require any further information or would like to speak to a member of our team call us on: Hitchin 01462 420077 or Luton 01582 579687, alternatively e-mail us at: or

Peter Heale Chiropractor in Hitchin and LutonFrom the team at Heale's Chiropractic Clinics
Over 30 years of helping people in Hitchin and Luton and the surrounding areas of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire

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