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The Ultimate Back Pain Relief Tips Blog

Smoking Increases Back Pain & Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

Posted by Dr. Jeff Winternheimer D.C. on Mon, May 05, 2014 @ 03:33 PM

back painSome back pain sufferers undergo surgery if their condition is severe or persistent, but this method of treatment isn’t always effective. One of the reasons for failed back surgery is smoking. Those who smoke are more at risk of having back problems in the first place, and they also face a higher risk of unsuccessful surgery or developing infections after their procedure. 

Smoking and Increased Back Pain

Most people are aware of the increased risks of lung cancer and heart problems due to smoking, but the fact that it can also cause back pain isn’t as well-known. The main reasons behind this association are thought to be linked to the effects of smoking on hormonal production and bone health. Smoking can limit the effects of physical exercise on the body, which can lead to weaker bones, including spinal bones. It can also lower the production of estrogen, which raises the risk of osteoporosis, or brittle bone disease, in women. In turn, osteoporosis can lead to spine fractures and other problems. 

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Smoking and Back Surgery

Doctors recommend surgical procedures, such as spinal fusion, for patients dealing with severe spinal problems. In order to be effective, these procedures require the spinal bones to heal normally. Smoking interferes with this process and can prevent the bones from growing and healing properly, leading to failed back surgery. Patients who smoke are also prone to post-operative infection, which can be a very dangerous complication, because smoking lowers their immune function. Due to this risk and the higher chance of surgery being unsuccessful, those who smoke should consider nonsurgical treatment methods for back pain or work on quitting if they do plan on having spinal surgery. 

Nonsurgical Treatment Options

Surgical treatments aren’t the only methods available for spinal problems or severe back pain. For those who are worried about failed back surgery, nonsurgical methods can also effectively treat back pain and restore flexibility. Functional Disc Rehydration is an example of an effective treatment method that doesn’t involve surgery. This method is designed to provide nutrients to spinal discs, which are the discs found in between the bones in your spine. These discs can become dry and shrink, leading to persistent pain and stiffness. With Functional Disc Rehydration, the discs become healthy once again. 

Need more information on nonsurgical treatments for back pain? Please contact the Illinois Back Institute to schedule an appointment and discuss your situation. We’ve been successfully treating back pain at our Illinois clinics for several years. New Call-to-Action

Topics: general back pain, Back Pain, Common Causes of Back Pain, failed back surgery syndrome, failed back syndrome, Risks of Back Surgery, smoking