Smoking Hurts Your Back
Numerous studies show a link between cigarette smoking and back pain. Smoking damages your arteries, and it’s thought that the damaged arteries in the discs and joints in your back may lead to pain and injury. Smoking increases your risk for osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disease that can lead to back pain. Smoking also increases your risk of hip fracture as you get older. Fractures can take longer to heal due to nicotine's harmful effects on bone-forming cells.
Quitting smoking takes effort, but you may find it easier if you ask yourself the following questions:
Do I have a quit day? A crucial step in quitting is selecting the day that you will stop smoking. Mark this day on your calendar and make a commitment to quit on that day.
Have I prepared my environment? Throw away all the cigarettes, ashtrays, and lighters in your house. Ask people not to smoke in your home. Avoid places where other smokers gather, such as outside your office.
How will I deal with smoking triggers? Identify the things that trigger you to smoke. Then come up with a list of things you can do to deal with your smoking triggers. Ask friends who have quit smoking for advice.
How will I handle withdrawal? You may want to consider nicotine-replacement therapy. Nicotine medications contain smaller, safer amounts of nicotine and none of the other harmful chemicals found in cigarettes. Talk with your doctor about what medication may be right for you.
Do I have a plan for lapses? It’s common for many people to relapse, particularly during the first 3 months after quitting smoking. Before you quit, make a plan to handle lapses, including seeking support from friends, family and health care providers.
No matter how long you’ve been smoking, you can quit for good.
- Berry, Judith, PhD, APRN
- MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician