Multiple studies have demonstrated an increase in the incidence of lower back pain among smokers. The reasons for this problem have yet to be fully defined. The spine consists of 33 vertebrae which are separated by fibrous discs. These discs are ingenious hydraulic pads which allow for limited movement, and yet protect each vertebra during compression. Like the majority of tissues in the human body, the discs are dependent upon oxygen. It is generally believed that the decrease in blood flow among smokers results in chronic oxygen depravation which weakens the discs of the spine. These malnourished discs are less able to withstand spinal loading and become painful as they degenerate. This problem is compounded by chronic coughing which raises the pressure within the discs and which adds to the problem.
Currently in patient mode
Switch to physician mode