Smoking Increases Risk of Back Pain by More than 50%

The Truth About Health: Smoking Increases Risk of Back Pain by More Than 50%


According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, smoking can double an adolescent’s risk of developing long-term low-back pain.

502 high school students were studied for a one-year period. Researches investigated the influence of various risk factors on pain development including high growth spurt, poor flexibility, poor abdominal strength, physical activity, work, mental health and smoking. Data was collected from student questionnaire and physical measurements.

17% of participating students reported low back pain. A major growth spurt (more than two inches in six months) was the most noticeable risk factor, tripling the odds of pain.

All of the other contributors to pain, such as smoking, working out, poor flexibility in the major upper-leg muscles, were preventable. Educate your teenagers about the causes and risk factors associated with low back pain-about the consequences they will face in later life, if precautions aren’t taken during their teen years.

Advise them to avoid smoking-also to stretch leg muscles prior to working out; and if weight lifting, to follow the proper techniques, while being careful not to over-do it.

Source: “Helping teens avoid back pain, “To Your Health” newsletter, September 12,2001.