Smoking and Back Pain

Given enough time the blister will heal and the foot will be ready for taking stress once again. If the stress that created the blister is small and time is given between when the stress is applied, a callous forms instead of a blister.

The body adapts instead of being injured. In the case of blood supply, think of the inside of your lip. This area has a rich blood supply and if cut will heal quite fast.

The spine is similar. If it has a good blood supply, it will adapt to the physical demands placed on it. If the demand is too great, damage will occur.

One of the chief effects of smoking on the spine is that smoking contributes to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is when plaque or other material builds up on the inside of blood vessels, causing decreased blood supply especially to areas that are fed by very small vessels.

The bones and discs of the spine are supplied by these small vessels and are affected by atherosclerosis which decreases the spine’s ability to heal itself.

This eventually leads to degeneration of the spine and the onset of pain. In this way, smoking increases the risk of developing atherosclerosis related to back pain.Also related to the spine’s ability to heal is the role of a bone cell called an osteoblast, a specialized cell the builds bone tissue.

Nicotine is a major chemical in smoking that contributes to its addictive properties. However, nicotine also inhibits the activity of osteoblasts.Decreased osteoblast activity from nicotine causes the bones of the spine to have a reduced ability to rebuild.

Over time, the bone is used up faster than it can be rebuilt causing osteoporosis and other degenerative conditions causing pain.Another connection that has been made between smoking and low back pain is the message of pain itself. Smokers have been found to have higher ratings of pain than nonsmokers.

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