Smokers 3 Times as Likely to Suffer Back Pain

April 29, 2022 2 min read

We all know that smoking is bad for our health don’t we? We know that it affects our general health, our skin, mood and internal organs right? But did you know that smokers are 3 times more likely than non smokers to suffer from back pain?

Smoking Can Lead To Chronic Back Pain

Not only that but smokers’ back pain is usually chronic too; chronic back pain is back pain which lasts for more than 12 weeks and research shows that quitting smoking elevates the chances of recovery substantially.

If you’re a smoker who suffers from chronic back pain then you will be all too familiar with the upset and discomfort that it causes. Being unable to move as quickly as you want, struggling with simple tasks and finding it difficult to sleep are just some of the issues caused by chronic back pain.


Exercise & Medication Can Provide Short Term Solutions

Exercise and medication can help to a degree but most people who suffer from chronic back pain would be thrilled to learn that there are other areas in which to focus attention when it comes to a cure.

A study was recently conducted by the Northwestern University Feinberg and what it did was to look at the part of the brain associated with addiction and reward and to link that with back pain.

Non Smokers Better At Dealing With Back Pain Episodes

In the smokers and non smokers who were studied, the brains of the smokers were found to be less able when it came to dealing with and coping with back pain; the non smokers were able to shrug off back pain episodes much more quickly and they were less likely to suffer back pain in a chronic fashion.

MRI scans revealed that within the brains of smokers, the messages sent between two sections of the brain which are involved in addictive behaviour and motivated learning were very strong indeed; in non smokers the connection between these two sections of the brain were not so well developed.

This indicates that in the future, science may well be more equipped to assist smokers in their quest for giving up the habit as well as assisting people who suffer from chronic pain. Interrupting the circuit between the two parts of the brain could be seen as a potential “cure”.

2012 Study Revealed Impaired Healing Ability Among Smokers

A separate study in 2012 also revealed that an impaired healing ability among smokers also contributes to pain in general and to diseases such as osteoporosis.

So it would seem that smoking is worse for our health than we previously thought but also that there are now new pathways to a cure which were previously unexplored.