Why smoking is bad news for your spine and how to deal with it

By Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti

Smoking causes nicotine addiction, increases the risk of cancer, leads to higher chance of arteriosclerosis and heart disease, and decreased life expectancy. These facts are well-known. But one of the issues that many don’t know is that smoking can deteriorate the health of the spine, which can lead to multiple health problems. Our expert Dr Satnam Singh Chhabra, Head Neuro and Spine Department, Sir Gangaram Hospital explains everything you need to know about the adverse effects of smoking on spinal health.

Bone is a living tissue dependent on the functions and support provided by the other body systems. When these systems are not able to perform normally, bone is unable to rebuild itself. The formation of bone is particularly influenced by physical exercise and hormonal activity, both of which are adversely affected by cigarette smoking.

Physical activity: When you smoke, it reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood and increases the level of harmful substances, such as carbon monoxide. This combined with the effects of smoking on the heart and blood vessels can limit the benefits from physical activity.

Hormonal function: Smoking increases estrogen loss in both pre-menopausal and post-menopausal women. This can result in loss of bone density, which cause bones to lose strength and become more fragile.

Cigarette smoking and spinal problems

The toxins in cigarettes wreak havoc on our bones and soft tissues. Here are some of the common areas of the spine that bear the brunt of smoking.


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