Smoking | Causes of Back Pain: Smoking
Though the tobacco companies and their allies in the media and congress were able to suppress the dangers of smoking for some time, today all people recognize the risks of smoking. Four out of five people who die from lung cancer were heavy smokers. In addition, smoking has been reported to be the cause of one third of all cancers. As if the carcinogenic qualities of tobacco in cigarettes weren't bad enough, the tobacco companies have thrown in lots of other artificial carcinogens into their products, such as benzene, Formaldehyde, and arsenic. Smoking may also be a cause of back pain. People who smoke are more likely to have back pain. In addition, people who smoke may also be slower to recover when back injuries do occur, and they may also be slower to recover from back surgeries. Today, doctors and the general public understand that smoking not only affects the lungs but cardiovascular health as well. The cardiovascular system includes the blood vessels which bring the body tissues oxygen and nutrients, and carry away carbon dioxide and the waste products of metabolism. If you smoke, these blood vessels may be compromised, and the structures that protect, move, and nourish the spine may be affected. Smoking is a proven cause of back pain.
Back pain is a persistent problem in the American society and workplace, and a symptom of disease that persists in spite of the latest advances in diagnostics, medical advances, and pharmaceutical options. The most common causes of this problem include heavy physical workload, low frequencies of exercise, obesity, living in a small community, and having a low educational level. Other lifestyle factors may adversely affect the health of our backs, including the habit of smoking.
Why does smoking cause back pain? Here are some of the likely reasons and explanations. Some of the contributing factors mentioned above seem pretty logical. It makes sense that when the back is forced to absorb continuous heavy loads; the chances are that sooner or later it will cry out in what we experience as our symptoms of pain. If loads are placed on the spine that are too heavy for it to handle, the spine will eventually become injured. Obesity (as defined as a person with a high Body Mass Index) is another reason why the spine may become overburdened to the point of injury, especially in the lumbar spine (lower back), which is at or near our center of gravity. Workplace injuries are also common causes of back strain, either due to jobs that require heavy lifting or those that require its employees to remain seated for the majority of their workday. These types of factors describe mechanical factors that may put strain on the back to the point that we experience pain.
Smoking is another contributing factor that affects our bodies on the microscopic level. Smoking affects the ways our blood vessels operate, and the body's ability to repair tissues that have become worn out due to old age or injury. The human body is constantly undergoing chances throughout our lives - from early childhood and into adulthood. When we are children, new cells, tissues, and bone are being created at an amazing pace, and we continue to grow and recover rapidly from injuries. As we get older, the rate in which our bodies are able to create new healthy cells eventually becomes outpaced by the rate in which our cells become worn out and subject to wear and tear.
When the spine or its supportive structures do become injured due to heavy loading, the healing process of the body tries to fix the damage. If the bodies healing mechanisms are doing their job well enough, the body will heal itself stronger than before the injury occurred, so that it will be able to manage the same loads again without becoming re-injured. In order for that person to experience lasting pain relief, several things must occur. The body must be given sufficient time that it is able to complete the healing process before it becomes re-injured again. This means that the person recovering from injury must avoid the same types of heavy loads that caused the original injury during the healing process. Also, the body's healing mechanisms must be capable of completing the healing process within a reasonable amount of time. With smokers, these healing mechanisms may fail to the point of providing a completion of the healing process or of making the body strong enough that it will be able to manage heavy loads in the future.
One of the keys of the healing process is having enough blood supply to complete the healing process. If the spine continues to have an adequate blood supply, it will have a rapid injury response and be able to adapt to the physical demands placed on it. Atherosclerosis is one condition of the blood vessels that may result in a reduction in the blood supply of the vessels that support the spine, back muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Atherosclerosis is a buildup of plaque on the walls lining the inner lumen of the blood vessels, causing a reduced blood supply to the tissues supplies by those blood vessels.