Should I Quit Smoking to Help my Lower Back Pain?

Smoking is one of the most troubling activities that a person can partake of. Smoking increases the risk of an incredible number of problems including heart disease and lung cancer. It’s been shown that quitting smoking can immediately reduce the risk of many of these conditions. If smoking is responsible for such dangerous and heinous medical conditions, could it be a potential factor in other health situations?

Have you ever wondered if smoking is contributing to your back pain? A new study has been conducted that shows a link between people smoking and suffering from degenerative back pain. It also provides new information in regards to degeneration in the lumbar spine. 

The Study

This study focused on smoking and lower back pain. Approximately 1,337 physicians (that graduated between 1948-1964 from John Hopkins University) were followed for over 50 years. The study showed that those with a history of smoking, coronary artery disease and hypertension (atherosclerosis risk factors) were easily linked to having pain in the lower develop. These risk factors and high blood cholesterol are also associated with lumbar spondylosis. It’s expected the findings of this study support the intended hypothesis that suffering from atherosclerosis can contribute to pain in the lower back and degenerative disc disorders.

Results of the Study

The study findings were first reported in 2001. It took place in 2001 at the AAOS get together in San Francisco. These findings support the hypothesis that lower back pain and smoking are linked. A study like this had never been done before and it was able to help determine risk factors which may lead to the development of disease in the future.

The study showed that a history of smoking and hypertension are major risk factors in developing lower back pain. The onset of lumbar spondylosis was strongly associated with a history of smoking and high cholesterol.

Quitting smoking is undoubtedly a positive choice for your health.

Quitting Smoking

Since smoking is an addictive behavior, it’s very hard to stop. Even people who have a strong willpower may find that it can be broken in specific situations. The good news is that many different ways have been developed to assist in quitting smoking. Most people try to quit smoking with no aids at some point. Quitting cold turkey as they call it can cause the person to suffer from withdrawal quickly. Though most people try this method, the success rate is actually quite low. It runs somewhere between 5% and 7%. 

Replacement therapy tends to be the next most common method of attempted treatment. The addictive features of smoking are provided through a variety of different methods. These can include pills, sprays, gums, patches or inhalers. This at least removes the remainder of the dangerous chemicals from smoking. Instead, the addictive component is very slowly phased out. Replacement therapy works best when it’s combined with behavioral therapy. People who undergo behavioral therapy work with a counselor who is hoping to help their patient quit smoking. Essentially, behavioral therapy works to find the causes and situations which bring on the need to smoke. By finding these moments and triggers, they can instead be avoided to minimize the risk of falling back to smoking. 

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This article should not be considered as medical advice. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional advice from a certified doctor or other qualified healthcare provider. Always speak with a doctor before starting, stopping, or changing any prescribed care or treatment plan. provides this reading material as a helpful resource, but it should never be a substitute for professional medical advice, care, diagnosis or treatment from a medical physician, a certified personal trainer, a therapist, a dietitian, or a nutritionist. If in a medical emergency, call a doctor or dial 911 immediately.