Each year more than 440,000 people in the United States alone die from tobacco-related diseases. This is one of the many reasons the American Cancer Society promotes The Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday in November every year. It is a designated date used to encourage to make a plan to quit.

Smoking cigarettes negatively impacts your overall health, and many people are aware of the increase risk for heart disease, respiratory conditions, and several cancer. Interestingly, few realize that smoking also has an impact on your bones, joints, and connective tissue.

“Put out the cigarette. People with chronic pain smoke more, even though smoking can actually make the pain worse.” 

Adam Burzynski, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon , Excelsior Orthopaedics

Orthopedic surgeon Adam Burzynski, MD, from Excelsior Orthopaedics breaks down some of the specifics about the relationship between smoking and musculoskeletal health.

Smoking causes pain

Studies suggest that smoking cigarettes changes the way that the brain processes sensory stimuli and perceives pain. Nicotine tricks the body into feeling less pain at first and releases feel-good chemicals like dopamine, which is why smoking has an addictive quality. Smokers may be less aware of the pain their body is experiencing until that feeling wears off.

Smoking increases your risk of developing osteoporosis

A Mayo Clinic study found current smokers had more severe pain and were more than twice as likely to have significant cartilage loss as nonsmokers. The researchers speculate that toxins from smoking may contribute to cartilage loss or that high carbon monoxide levels in the blood could hamper cartilage repair.

Smoking can lead to more surgery complications

 Two separate studies, presented at the 2012 annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, compared joint replacement in smokers and nonsmokers, showing that smokers had a significantly higher failure rate than nonsmokers.

Smoking interferes with pain medication

 Smokers require more medication to ease their pain, research has found. Tobacco use appears to have some effect on the nervous system, increasing sensations and perceptions of pain.

Smoking can make you too thin and put you at greater risk for fractures

Nicotine signals the brain to eat less and can prevent the body from getting adequate nutrition. Having a good body weight is important for general health.

Find an Orthopedic Specialist Near You
Call (716) 923-7153

Find an Orthopedic Specialist Near You
Call (716) 9237153