Why smoking is a pain in the back

Chiropractors’ Association of Australia SA president Dr Brett Hill says smoking dehydrates spinal discs which provide shock absorption for the back.

Quit Smoking

Adam Beltchev gave up smoking two months ago.

He said including the warning on cigarette packets could give smokers an immediate reason to consider quitting, while warnings about tooth decay and lung cancer indicated future problems for smokers.

“Back pain is something that people are rather fearful of; back pain can be debilitating,” Dr Hill said.

“Research shows there is an incidence and prevalence of non-specific back pain which increases with cigarette consumption.”

Dr Hill said spinal discs separate vertebrae, but shrink when they dehydrate.

“Sufficient space is required between vertebrae for the nerves, so the messages they send are not interrupted.”

He said smoking also had an impact on the ability to exercise efficiently, because it affected the lungs and ability to breathe.

“When smokers reduce their exercise levels, they also reduce their muscle strength and body structure, leaving the whole body’s level of health depleted and susceptible to injury,” Dr Hill said.

Adam Beltchev, 36, give up smoking two months ago after lighting up for about 20 years.

“One of the things that I’ve found is that I’ve got a lot more energy so I can do more exercise and strengthen my muscles,” he said.

He said he also no longer felt consistent pain or stiffness after exercising.

“I would often substitute a meal for a cigarette. I find I eat healthier now,” he said.

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