For years, doctors have been stating that smoking increases the risks for heart disease, lung diseases, and cancer, and have advised smokers to quit. Now, there is a new reason why putting out your cigarette is a good idea: smokers are three times more
likely than nonsmokers to develop chronic back pain.
According to a new study from Northwestern University’s School of Medicine, smoking changes the way the brain responds to pain, making smokers more susceptible to pain.
A smoker who experiences new, acute back pain is less likely to recover from that pain than a nonsmoker, and that pain is much more likely to develop into a chronic pain problem.
In addition, statistics consistently show that smokers report feeling more intense pain and anxiety than nonsmokers and have far more difficulty getting around, being alert, and getting a good night’s sleep than nonsmokers.
If you suffer from pain, whether acute or chronic, and you use cigarettes to help you cope with your pain or stress, put them away. There are better and healthier ways to manage your pain than smoking. One of the best ways is to take a walk or engage in some other kind of exercise. Exercise releases endorphins in your brain, which block pain in the same way as morphine.
If you would like to quit smoking, talk to your doctor. He or she can help you achieve your goals, and your back will thank you!
Click here to learn more about pain and smoking from WebMD
Angelie Singh, MD, MPH, MS