Smoking Linked To Back Pain

Everyone nowadays knows that smoking is a damaging habit to his or her health, but not everyone knows it can cause back pain. Smoking doesn’t just harm your lungs and heart, but it also has a direct link to your spine.

The latest research indicates that smoking can increase your risk of back pain. One recent study published in 2012 showed that women who smoked were three times more likely to develop arthritis. This arthritis causes pain in the low back and sacrum. Past smokers were 1.5 times more likely to develop arthritis, and women who smoked for over 25 years had the highest risk of all. Researchers suggested that smokers could be more vulnerable to arthritis because smoking could induce oxidative stress that causes inflammation and harms the immune system.

Another study that was released in December 2012 demonstrated patients with disorders of the spine who quit smoking experienced considerable improvements in back pain. The authors wrote that ‘with regard to chronic pain disorders, smokers reported an increased magnitude of pain when compared with nonsmokers.’

The authors demonstrated that there was nearly 2-fold more patients who quit smoking that reported more than 30% decrease in pain than current smokers (32.0% vs 16.6%), and never-smokers reported a greater mean improvement in disability as determined by the Oswestry Disability index than current smokers. The authors also concluded that are needed to improve chronic pain among patients with spinal conditions.

So the sooner you throw away the bad habit of smoking, the better. Not only will it help with you back pain, but also will have immediate health effects such as boosting your healing process.

AHS is a full-service clinic that offers each individual an approach to help you achieve your health goals. The chiropractors are trained for and concerned with health and wellness. This is more than just your back!

Please call your Chiropractor at AHS on 9948 2826 or visit our clinic at 9/470 Sydney Rd in Balgowlah servicing the surrounding suburbs of Allambie, Balgowlah Heights, Seaforth, Fairlight and Manly on the Northern Beaches.


  1. Chung HY, Machado P, Heijde D, et al. Smokers in early axial spondyloarthritis have earlier disease onset, more disease activity, inflammation and damage, and poorer function and health-related quality of life: results from the DESIR cohort. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2012;71:809-816. doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2011-200180.
  2. Walsh, Nancy. Smoking Tied to Back Pain, Arthritis. Medpage Today. May 18,2012. Accessed May 24, 2012. 
  3. Behrend C. Smoking Cessation Related to Improved Patient-Reported Pain Scores Following Spinal CareJ Bone Joint Surg Am, 2012 Dec 05;94(23):2161-2166.