How Does Smoking Impact Scoliosis?

How Does Smoking Impact Scoliosis?

Cigarette smoking has long been associated with health risks, killing more than eight million people globally every year. It causes problems such as COPD, lung cancer, and heart disease, as well as a host of other complications.


One of the other health areas that smoking impacts is the spine. According to a Brain and Spine study — which you can access here — tobacco smoking is a major risk factor for the occurrence of degenerative spinal diseases. In particular, researchers found that cigarette smokers experienced a greater need for surgery, along with a higher rate of postoperative wound healing complications. At the same time, smokers were more prone to recovery delays and increased pain perception.


Other studies have also indicated that spinal degeneration and severe back pain can lead to certain types of scoliosis, like de novo scoliosis — a form of spinal curvature that develops in adulthood as a result of spinal degeneration. In this post, we'll take a closer look at how smoking impacts scoliosis and how quitting can help:


Smoking and scoliosis

Aside from contributing to spinal degeneration and other degenerative spinal diseases, smoking can also exacerbate the side effects and symptoms of scoliosis. So, aside from being one of the various factors that can lead to scoliosis, smoking also worsens different health factors for patients with scoliosis.


For example, this study explores the impact of coughing on a patient's spine and discs. Specifically, researchers looked at cough-induced rib fractures caused by strenuous and prolonged coughing. This was mostly provoked by respiratory tract infections and manifested in localized chest pain. Researchers also noted that this occurrence may be more common in existing rib deformity caused by scoliotic curvatures.


While coughing is a vital reflexive mechanism, coughing is also a known side effect of smoking. Due to their combustible nature, traditional cigarettes have long been linked with various respiratory conditions, including lung damage, diseases, and long-term coughing. As such, long-term smoking and other harmful activities may likely lead to similar cases of cough-induced rib fractures.


Other studies have also pointed toward physical inactivity being a common trend among cigarette smokers. Unfortunately, inactivity can often result in a higher frequency of back pain. In patients with scoliosis, added and strenuous back pain due to lack of exercise and movement can make daily life difficult to enjoy.


Smoking cessation tips to help

Fortunately, quitting your smoking habit can be beneficial for your health. Aside from eliminating exposure to harmful ingredients and smoking, cessation can also prevent any harmful side effects specific to the spine or scoliosis.


Of course, quitting smoking is challenging due to its addictive nature. However, there are many cessation tools and aids available on the market today to help.


Oral nicotine products like nicotine pouches, for example, have become popular recently due to their smoke-free nature. Unlike e-cigarettes, pouches don't have to be lit up and will cause less coughing, helping maintain spine and bone health for smokers who may have scoliosis. Nicotine pouches are also vital for handling cigarette cravings and withdrawal symptoms, making quitting more manageable.


Due to its popularity, they have become increasingly accessible via online retailers. You can click here to find nicotine pouches from reputable brands, where you can also choose from a variety of flavors and nicotine strengths, depending on your preference. To make the cessation journey easier, you can consider caffeine or coffee-flavored pouches from brands like ZYN and LUCY to substitute your morning smoke and coffee combo with a healthier, smokeless option.


You can also opt for other smokeless and oral options to prevent coughing and other harmful effects of smoking, such as nicotine lozenges. Like other nicotine products, there are certainly pros and cons to using lozenges — which you can read here — but they are generally accepted as effective cessation tools alongside nicotine gum. Today, you can easily find lozenges from reputable brands like Nicorette, both online and over-the-counter.


Finally, as mentioned above, a lack of physical activity can also contribute to spinal degeneration and back pains. As such, regular exercise is essential to maintain your spine health. Many former smokers also turn to exercise as a distraction from smoking urges and to help heal their bodies. You can refer to our post for the best scoliosis exercises to keep you moving, from basic arm and leg raises for balance and spine strength to the Scroth Method to help stabilize your spine.


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