If you have plans to quit smoking in the new year, doctors have an added incentive: It could ease back pain.
Drop the pack, improve your back — that’s the message from the North American Spine Society.
According to the recent report, smoking can cause severe back pain, which can be fixed by back surgery. However, most surgeons will tell you you need to quit smoking for good surgery results.
So now, a new no-smoking campaign has just been launched to help us understand more about this contradiction. It’s getting a lot of support from the team at Mayfield Brain & Spine.
“This is about purely about biology of healing and the need to minimize every possible risk to a good outcome,” said Dr. William Tobler.
When researchers looked at spine procedures and healing in those who smoke, specifically in spine fusion, they found the carbon monoxide gases associated with smoking as well as nicotine could cause poor healing, increased risk of infection and increased risk of the bone not healing properly.
Dr. Tobler says even if you quit before surgery, it can be a problem if you start smoking again after surgery and during healing.
“Any time you resume smoking in the post-operative period, even three or four or six months later, it has detrimental effects, especially with regard to fusion, which is a process of healing that goes on for two, three or even more years,” said Dr. Tobler.
If you do want to quit, tell your healthcare provider. Those who have the most success get medical intervention, have a good support system and they set a quit date.