Not everyone knows that smoking causes degenerative disc disease, although most people are aware that smoking is very bad for your health. I want to be clear that DDD is not a disease at all, but instead is a normal part of spinal aging. However, the condition comes in stages and can become problematic at advanced levels of disc deterioration. Smoking increases both the speed at which the intervertebral discs age, as well as the likelihood of suffering symptomatic DDD concerns, by more than 300%.
This crucial article examines the definitive link between smoking and the degree of disc degeneration demonstrated in any given patient.
Smoking contributes to advanced degenerative disc disease due to the chemical composition of the active ingredients in cigarettes and cigars. Smoking will speed up the processes which make discs lose height, diameter and mass and lead to premature dehydration of the disc anatomy.
Smoking also increases the speed and likelihood of significant arthritic changes in the spine. While osteoarthritis is an expected part of getting older, smokers can expect to become affected with advanced arthritis earlier in life.
Both arthritis and DDD contribute to herniations of the spinal disc structures. Therefore, there is also a link between the incidence of herniated discs and smoking.
DDD is a common scapegoat condition often blamed for causing back pain, but is rarely the true source. However, ischemia is a very real and epidemic cause of back pain and is also exacerbated by smoking. Ischemia is characterized by a reduced oxygenation of certain cells, enacting painful symptoms, such as tingling, numbness and weakness, as well as severe muscle spasms.
Smoking raises the carbon monoxide content of the blood and decreases the amount of oxygen the blood can effectively distribute to all the cells in the body. Carbon monoxide is a deadly poison and has lasting negative effects on cellular health throughout the anatomy.
It is common for smokers to suffer worse ischemic symptoms than non-smokers and it might be harder for smokers to find relief from this type of pain, even using appropriate therapy options, such as knowledge therapy.
Well, our advice to all you smokers out there is really simple: Stop smoking. It seems like common sense, but many of you just don't get it. We know it is not easy, but you have to do it in order to be healthy. Forget DDD and herniated discs. Smoking will kill you.
Smoking increases the risks for serious health conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. If these factors do not scare you into stopping smoking, then nothing will. Find some other past time to occupy your time and energy. Hopefully, your new habit will be something less harmful and more healthy.