Back-Healthy Habits: Quit smoking. Smoking and Back Pain

By now, it should be too late for any of you to claim ignorance on the role of smoking and the negative effects on your health. Smoking famously causes cancer, among many other medical problems. For example, some of the latest research estimates that cancer is the cause of approximately 1/3 of all cancers. If I or others haven't already given you enough reasons to quit smoking, here's another one. Cigarette smoke is back for your back. Resent research has shown a high prevalence of spinal stenosis and back pain among habitual smokers. One possible reason for nicotine smoke as a cause of back pain is constriction and damage to the blood vessels that feed your back with oxygen and nutrition. Smoking has been shown to effect the vascular system of the entire body, in general, and the effects of blood vessel damage in our body may be experienced first in our backs. In addition, smoking is bad for the health of our bones, and may lead to premature osteoporosis in men and women. Smoking may make certain people prone to developing osteoporosis, which in turn may make these same people prone to suffering vertebral fractures. The news gets bleaker if you continue to smoke and up needing back surgery. Smoking increases the risk of patient's developing complications related to their back surgery, and it decreases the likelihood of long-term success following the surgical procedure. Smokers who undergo spinal fusion surgery are significantly more likely to fail than non-smokers.

Well, I have given you all the reasons for you to stop smoking, particularly if you smoke and also suffer from back pain. Well, what about the people with back pain who want to quit but can't seem to do it. Here we will offer you some suggestions on how to quit smoking.

Mint Tobacco-less Tobacco. Mint Chew. I have tried this stuff and found the experience to be quite unpleasant (disgusting!). But I have also tried chewing tobacco also and found that experience to be just as bad. Many people trying to quit chewing tobacco or other nicotine products have taken to products such as Mint Snuff ( The main ingredients of this product is crystallized mint and other flavors. Like chewing tobacco, the stuff is means to be sucked and chewed on inside your mouth and spit out. Scores of people, especially baseball players who have used to quit chewing tobacco, use this product and rave about it. It is classified as a food by the FDA, and is safe to consume, though not designed for that purpose. This product does not contain nicotine.

Many people are able to quit smoking, not by going cold turkey, but by gradually cutting down on their cigarette consumption, and eventually weaning themselves off the deadly sticks. For those that need help weaning themselves off cigarettes, there are nicotine patches and nicotine gum. The nicotine patch can stick onto the body (usually the arm or shoulder) and has a delayed release of the active ingredient that can be absorbed into the skin throughout the day. Nicotine chewing gum, such as that produced by Nicorette, provides patients with some of the nicotine that they were used to getting through cigarettes, as well as acting as a substitute oral activity to the act of smoking.