Every stick that you light brings harm to the body. Now studies show that even back pain can stem from SMOKING.
A May 2020 study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) showed that tobacco kills more than eight million people each year. This is a dark fact, but something that everyone must know -- especially those who have the habit of smoking.
Talking about the mortality rate is one thing but living with the damaging effects of smoking is another. One of these health risks is chronic back pain. According to Medical News Today, which cited the study done by Bogdan Petre of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern, smoking interferes with a brain circuit associated with pain, making smokers more prone to chronic back pain.
Back pain is a prevalent medical condition that hampers productivity. According to a WHO study, it is one of the reasons why workers miss days at work. In the United States, an estimated 149 million work days are lost every year because of low back pain, with total costs estimated to be US$ 100 to 200 billion a year.
The association between smoking and chronic back pain
How does smoking trigger chronic back pain? Let’s just say that the substance in the cigarettes alters the brain’s response to pain.
In a study, the National Center for Biotechnology (NCBI) Information puts it this way: “Smoking also increases the level of circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines, which signal the central nervous system and may lead to amplification of pain. It has also been suggested that smoking increases inflammation.” Moreover, a Reuters article, which cited the Spine Journal, noted that “smoking damages the spine in several ways. Nicotine can damage spinal tissue, weaken bones, and make back pain worse.”
How to reverse this
There are still more studies to be done to tighten the connection between cigarette smoking and back pain.
However, cutting back on smoking will deliver great results for the body and would lessen the chances of preventable diseases and add more years to life expectancy as noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Here are more benefits of kissing smoking goodbye as related by CDC:
- Just after a year of quitting, there is a sharp risk reduction of suffering from heart attack
- After two to five years, there are less possibilities for stroke
- Saying quits reduces chances of developing cancer in the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder by half
- Ten years into it, the likelihood of dying from lung cancer is also cut in half
Take care of your back
Maintaining back health is crucial since it can affect your productivity and health. Aside from quitting smoking, here are other certain measures to protect your back:
1. Put more ergonomics in your home office -- Poor ergonomics contribute to poor posture, which, if not addressed properly, will lead to muscle strains. Working in a neutral posture will alleviate and prevent pain in your back as well as in the different parts of the body.
Purchase a height adjustable chair like so you can work in a position that works for you. This kind of chair can support your lumbar, neck, and wrists.
2. Get moving -- This CNN article says that not exercising or living a sedentary lifestyle is worse than smoking, diabetes, and heart disease. But it can also have an impact on your back. Specifically, sitting too much can bring about back pain as noted in this NCBI article.
There are many options to counteract the lack of exercise. You can buy a sit-stand desk so that you can transition from sitting to standing the whole day and not be interrupted from finishing your work.
Do posture exercises to stretch your back and improve your posture. This is also a great way to boost your energy, stay pain-free, and put in more movement throughout the day.
The healthy change
Quitting smoking is not an easy feat. But going this route will bring in amazing benefits to the body in the years to come. Ditching the nicotine fix will aid the body to recover and regain health and be on the path to total healing.