How Does Smoking Affect Musculoskeletal Health
We all know how bad smoking is for our health. It doesn’t benefit the health in any way and can negatively affect it in the long run. While reduced lung capacity and decreased heart health are a couple of commonly known effects of smoking, did you know smoking can impact an individual’s musculoskeletal health as well?
Yes. That’s right. Smokers are at a 1.5 times higher risk of suffering overuse injuries like bursitis or tendinitis than those who don’t. In addition, smokers are more prone to traumatic injuries like fractures or sprains. They are also more vulnerable to developing low back pain and rheumatoid arthritis. But how does smoking impact a person’s musculoskeletal health? Let’s answer this question.
Reduced Bone Density
Cigarettes have various chemicals, especially nicotine, that affect the body’s ability to absorb calcium from the diet, thus reducing bone mineral density. The body requires calcium for bone mineralization. Lesser absorption can make bones fragile. Studies show that people who smoke for several years develop osteoporosis and suffer from reduced hormone estrogen levels and reduced cortical thickness.
Decreased Fracture Healing Capacity
Smoking also affects the body’s natural healing capacity. It slows down the production of bone-forming cells and reduces oxygen and blood flow to the soft tissues, impacting the healing process in case of injuries or fractures. The bloodstream supplies the body with all the necessary nutrients to heal from injuries. But nicotine constricts blood vessels and affects nutrient supply. Thus, smokers can take longer to heal than non-smokers.
Delayed Surgical Recovery
People who continue to smoke after orthopedic surgery often experience slower recovery. It is because, as mentioned earlier, smoking slows down the recovery process. Additionally, people who smoke have a higher risk of infection and post-operative complications. Surgical procedures that require bone fusion or muscle repair prove significantly more successful in non-smokers than in their smoking counterparts.
Increased Lower Back Pain
In many cases, smoking is also associated with lower back pain. It is because smoking has a degenerative effect on bones, tendons, and ligaments. As stated earlier, it reduces the flow of nutrients to joints and muscles, thus weakening the area and causing pain.
While various treatment options are available, avoiding and quitting smoking is best. It can benefit your bone health and prove advantageous on various fronts. Non-smokers feel healthier and more agile than smokers. So, quit smoking now. For specific guidance, diagnosis, and treatment, visit Ranka Hospital. Call us at +91 20 2426 1600 to schedule an orthopedic specialist appointment.