Smoking and Back Pain: Know the Connection

We are all well aware of the dangers of smoking.  Lung cancer, emphysema, premature aging – the many perils have been reiterated to us time and time again.  Yet, despite our wealth of knowledge and science linking smoking to devastating illness and disease, an estimated 42.1 million American adults continue to smoke.  Now, new research is linking smokers to even more health concerns.

New research reports that smokers are three times more likely to suffer from chronic back pain (lasting more than 12 weeks) than are non-smokers.  Stated lead author, Bogdan Petre, “We found that it affects the way the brain responds to back pain and seems to make individuals less resilient to an episode of pain.”  While the study concedes that a connection may exist between pain and addiction in general, tobacco is the most common addictive substance in the U.S. 

What Can Smokers Do?

Positive news to also come out of the research is that participants who stopped smoking experienced a drop in pain levels – yet another reason to stop lighting up.  Of course, we understand that while the desire to quit smoking is often quite strong, the ability to do so if far different.  Addictions are not made overnight and expecting to break them as quickly is unrealistic. 


There is no shortage of promised quick fixes for smokers.  Patches, gum, prescription medication, and more all promise to wean you off tobacco once and for all.  However, these solutions come with their own set of problems.  Most notably, mood-altering medications such as Chantix come with a laundry list of potential side effects such as depression, suicidal thoughts or actions, and seizures.  On the less serious end of the spectrum are nicotine replacement options which can actually prolong addiction and fail to address the underlying problem.

Acupuncture offers a safe, effective alternative to help smokers kick the habit.  The acupuncture approach is two-fold.  First, it leads to less frequent and less intense cravings.  Second, it helps alleviate symptoms of withdrawal which often hinder success.  These can include irritability, restlessness, and a general feeling of not being oneself without a cigarette in hand.  Additionally, the treatment is typically complete in as little as 4-6 sessions, far less than the months that are required by other methods.

If you are a smoker who also suffers from chronic back pain, you may find significant relief from smoking cessation.  At SouthEast Chiropractic: The Motion Centers, we offer the services needed to address both of these issues.  Not only is our team of skilled chiropractors and massage therapists able to treat your back discomfort, but our acupuncturists can help you leave tobacco behind for good.

To request your appointment at our DenverBelmont, or Gastoniaoffice, click here