Smoking increases risk of back pain and arthritis

Smoking increases risk of back pain and arthritis

Smoking has been found to increase the chances of developing inflammatory back pain and arthritis. 

The two new studies were undertaken at the Harvard University. 

"Taken together, the interactions between environmental factors and the onset, the course, and outcomes of rheumatic diseases are getting increasingly complex, and it is becoming increasingly clear how detrimental the influence of smoking is on most of these diseases," wrote Jürgen Braun, MD, of Rheumatology Medical Centre Ruhrgebiet in Herne, Germany, and colleagues in an accompanying editorial.

Back pain blights the lives of 80% of people and is the fourth most common ailment.

Back pain is a big problem in our society that starts early on for many as more than 120,000 young people will see a doctor before the age of 16 about back pain. Four out of every five adults will experience back pain at some point in their life and our predominantly office based work environments do nothing to help this. The economic effects of back pain are enormous; it is estimated that 119 million working days are lost per year due to back pain. Each person suffering from back pain is estimated to take on average, 17.3 days off work per year.

TYPES OF BACK PAIN

Neck Pain This can include feelings of stiffness or tightness, as well as sharp pain and, in severe cases, can reduce the movement of the neck and head. Neck pain can also cause tension headaches.

Upper and middle back pain  Pain in this area is often the result of pinched nerves in the spine by the ribs.

Lower back Pain  This is the commonest type of back pain with around 8 out of 10 people affected at some time in their lives. Symptoms range from tension and stiffness to pain and soreness.

Buttocks and legs (sciatica)  Sciatica is pain caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve which runs down the back of your pelvis. When something compresses or irritates the sciatic nerve, it can cause a pain that radiates out from your lower back and travels down your leg to your calf.

TREATING BACK PAIN

Stay Mobile

Experts agree that the best way to manage back pain is to keep mobile, however sometimes the pain is so severe that it prevents the sufferer from getting on with normal every day activities - which can actually make back pain worse.

Take pain killers to manage the pain- you might consider a unique combination painkiller containing both paracetamol and ibuprofen.

Hot or cold compression packs may also help reduce the pain

Some people choose to have manual therapy, such as physiotherapy or osteopathy.

If you are in the middle of experiencing an episode of back pain, some gentle stretches can help ease any discomfort and will help strengthen the muscles in your back.

For back pain lasting for more than six weeks (which doctors describe as chronic), treatment typically involves a combination of painkillers and either acupuncture, exercise classes or manual therapy


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