prevention programs in schools, legal restrictions at restaurants
and bars, and repeated health warnings on TV, nearly one in
four Americans continues to smoke. For these people, lung
cancer and emphysema could be lurking in their not-so-distant
future, and evidence now suggests that smoking might also
contribute to other conditions, including back pain.
If you smoke and have a history of back problems, smoking
might be making those problems worse. Results of a questionnaire
mailed to 1,471 young me and women diagnosed with adolescent
scoliosis (curvature of the spine) and 1,750 mean and women
without scoliosis revealed that smoking increased reported
back pain not only in men and women with scoliosis, but also
in healthy women. Back pain was also more frequent and more
intense among smokers compared with nonsmokers in the study
These results suggest that smoking is associated with back
pain, and that the impact may be even greater in people with
spinal conditions. All the evidence shows that smoking is
addictive, but picking up that first cigarette is a choice.
Make the right choice -- it's much less painful in the long
Scott SC, Goldberg MS, Mayo NE, et al. The association between
cigarette smoking and back pain in adults. Spine, June
1, 1999, Vol.24/no. 11, pp1090-98.