The link between smoking and multiple illnesses has been well-established. Even the most fervent of skeptics can draw a line from inhaling carcinogens in cigarette smoke to cancer in lung tissue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, statistics paint an alarming picture of cigarette smoking as a vice that kills more each year than HIV, illegal drugs, alcohol, motor vehicle accidents and firearms combined. We know that smoking is deleterious to health and that it tops the list of habits to break. But can it cause pain? Not surprisingly, the answer is yes.
Physical pain is an indicator that something is not right with your body. Sensory receptors called nociceptors detect a problem (mechanical, chemical or thermal) and transform it into electrical signals that the central nervous system interprets as pain. This is for your protection. For example, if you've sprained your ankle, pain tells you that you have an injury and prevents you from making it worse.
In the world of problem-causing agents for your nociceptors to detect, inhaled cigarette smoke gets a gold star for being particularly noxious. At least 69 of the more than 7,000 chemicals released in cigarette smoke are linked to cancer. While it's hard at work damaging your healthy cells, it's also decreasing circulation, raising blood pressure, weakening blood vessel walls, causing blood clots and raising blood cholesterol. Cigarette smoke wreaks havoc throughout your body, triggering multiple nociceptor responses resulting in pain.
Lower back pain and neck pain are examples of the types chronic pain that smokers experience. This is thought to be a result of vascular damage to discs. Decreased circulation from cigarette smoke interferes with nutrient delivery to this tissue, resulting in its deterioration, which hurts. Aching joints and abdominal pain are also linked to cigarette smoke as well as a generalized decrease in pain threshold. Everything seems to hurt more. Statistics back this up: While only about 18 percent of Americans smoke, more than half of those who seek treatment for pain are smokers.
If you smoke because it seems to make you feel better, understand that this effect is short-lived and the cigarette smoke is very likely the cause of the discomfort you seek relief from. While nicotine does produce short-term pain relief, it and the other toxins in cigarette smoke actually create chronic pain, which serves as an indicator of the damage it's doing to your health. The good news is that your doctor, especially a doctor within the BodyLogicMD network of highly-trained physicians specializing in integrative medicine, can offer advice and support for smoking cessation, along with physician-grade supplements, such as Pure Serenity, to help you reclaim your health, while reducing stress and pain.