Cigarette Smoking and How it Affects Back Pain.


Cigarette smoking and it’s detrimental effects to a person’s health has been widely publicized and how it is linked to different types of cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, but it also is linked to back pain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 42.1 million Americans smoke cigarettes and many of them suffer from a health condition related to this habit. Smokers are more prone to back pain and back pain is one of the leading causes of disability and is the most common reason for people missing work.

Smoking cigarettes and the chemicals found in them can affect back pain in a few different ways. The nicotine in cigarettes causes disc degeneration when the blood flow to the discs between the vertebrae is restricted, and it is a common form of back pain. The chemicals in cigarettes reduce calcium absorption which prevents bone growth, and can lead to osteoporotic fractures due to low bone mass. Smoking cigarettes affects these body functions but it also affects the brain.

Researchers have found that smoking interferes with the brain’s circuit for pain, and leading to smokers being prone to back pain. Two regions of the brain, the medial prefrontal cortex and the nucleus accumbens play a large role in chronic pain development. Smokers have been found to have a stronger connection between these two regions of the brain and are less resilient to pain.

The link between cigarettes and health conditions including chronic back pain has been researched by many and found that cessation of smoking could help improve health conditions. When a patient is suffering from back pain and going to have surgery many physicians recommend to stop smoking due to its adverse effects on health and recovery. The habit of smoking plays a role in chronic back pain and could be worsening ones condition.

Whiteman, Honor. (2014) Smoking linked to increased chronic back pain. (2015) Retrieved from (2015) Smoking statistics. Retrieved from

Dr Sanjoy Banerjee

Pacific Pain Care,

2097 Compton Avenue Suite #102,

Corona, CA 92881

Phone. 855-854-7246

Fax. 951-268-9516