Jonathan Donath, D.C. on the Link Between Smoking and Back Health

I treat a lot of herniated discs, a lot of very severe disc injuries. On my intake form I always ask "do you smoke, how much." What I found over the years is that smokers, as well as diabetics, but especially smokers, actually heal slower. The ability of the body to perfuse oxygen to the surrounding tissue is altered and there is a slowing to the healing process.

I try to give my patients a heads up that if they are smokers that they will heal slower and it will take longer for them to get out of pain. Not that they can’t get out of pain. They usually do very well. But they will but they usually take longer.

So if someone is a smoker and in a lot of pain I will recommend that they stop smoking. Obviously they now it is not good for their lungs to smoke – and the potential of cancer. But smoking also will make their pain worse and making it a lot harder to heal.


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