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Lower Back Pain – Effects Of Smoking

February 3, 2022


So let’s talk about smoking and all the different types of back pain. Well, we all know that smoking’s bad anyway. If somebody here thinks that smoking is good, they’re wrong. Good studies show that smokers have increased risk of low back pain and the interventions that we take to get back pain better are lessened in smokers. For instance, let’s just look at a very, very dramatic example. Let’s say that you have a malalignment. A slip. The vertebra’s aren’t aligned and oh my gosh, they’re squeezing the nerves and you’ve got back pain and leg pain with it and you get operated on. You need to have the bone taken away so you have room and it needs to be made solid. So you get screws and rods that hold it until the bony fusion can get solid. Well, if you have it done and you are not a smoker and you’re 50 years old, you have about a 96 to 98% odds that your fusion’s going to get solid, which is what you want. But if you are a smoker, then you have only 60% odds of getting a solid fusion. So marvelous data, clear data, not where you have to manipulate the statistics and have some mathematician crunch numbers for hours. But here it is in black and white. If you get a fusion, please don’t be smoking. Don’t cheat, don’t smoke after you’ve quit. You know you want that to get solid. And we do know that smokers have higher risk of low back pain. What we don’t know, nobody’s done this study yet and that is okay. We’ll take 200,000 smokers, we’ll make them quit and see if their back pain gets better. We don’t know the answer to that yet. All’s we know is the incidence of back pain, how often people have back pain to what degree, higher in smokers and nonsmokers that are equally matched.

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