The Effects Of Nicotine On Spinal Disc Cells – Vaping, Smoking, Back Pain

During the past few decades, there has been a significant campaign to reduce the rate of smoking throughout society. Unfortunately, there is another habit that has become more popular. It’s called vaping, and it refers to the use of electronic cigarettes to get nicotine into the body without using tobacco. Sadly, vaping can be just as dangerous as smoking. However, the electronic cigarette industry is not nearly as regulated as the tobacco industry, so it can be difficult for people to figure out what they are truly putting in their bodies. While there has been a significant amount of attention paid to the detrimental impact of smoking and vaping on the respiratory system, vaping can also have a negative impact on spinal health as well. What are some examples? Keep reading to find out.

Reduced Bone Mineral Density

Vaping products have a wide variety of chemical flavors and metallic compounds added to the liquids. Unfortunately, these are associated with significant human toxicity. Research studies have found that carcinogens in electronic cigarettes have a toxic impact on osteoblast cells. Osteoblasts are responsible for making new bone cells in your body. If your osteoblasts are not working properly, it is difficult to create new bone. This can lead to osteoporosis, increasing the risk of someone suffering a fracture of the spine. For this reason, everyone should stay away from electronic cigarettes to protect the health of the spine.

Hypoxic Environments Damage Intervertebral Discs

In addition, these studies have demonstrated the adverse impact of a hypoxic environment. Nicotine has long been known to lead to blood vessel construction. What this means is that it is difficult for oxygen and nutrients to get where they need to go. When blood vessels constrict in the back, this can lead to the degeneration of important vasculature in spinal discs. When this happens, the discs can start to degenerate and dehydrate, leading to long-term medical concerns. This could even increase the risk of someone suffering a disc herniation.

Oxidative Stress Leads To Systemic Inflammation

Furthermore, electronic cigarettes, nicotine, and vaping can lead to oxidative stress and systemic inflammation. When inflammation takes place throughout the body, this can have a negative impact on spinal cord health. Inflammation can lead to cellular damage, damaging the intercellular matrix. This can make tissues in the back more likely to suffer long-term consequences. Even though the long-term impacts of systemic inflammation are still an area of research, it is clear that inflammation can lead to immediate consequences for the health of the spine.

Poor Healing and Fusion

Using nicotine products and electronic cigarettes can also lead to poor healing. For example, if someone undergoes an operation, the presence of nicotine will make it more difficult for the body to form the collagen it needs to complete the recovery process. Without access to a strong blood supply, it is difficult for the body to fully recover. Furthermore, nicotine has also been shown to inhibit fusion. Because nicotine constricts the blood vessels, it is difficult for the body to produce molecules that are required to form new bone. This slows the incorporation of new bone surrounding metal implants, which can make it more difficult for someone to recover from spinal fusion. This is why it is critical for everyone to stay away from smoking and vaping, particularly if they are getting ready to have an operation.

Spine Instability

Finally, smoking and vaping can also lead to spine instability. Because the spinal discs degenerate when using these products, the spine is vulnerable to abnormal motions. Nicotine vaping can also degenerate tendons, ligaments, and muscles, further destabilizing the spine. This structural damage is directly related to loss of muscle mass, making it harder for the back support itself. This can significantly increase the chances of suffering a serious back injury, leading to long-term complications and comorbidities. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available for those who are looking for a way to stop using nicotine products.

Rely on a Chiropractor in Raleigh North Carolina

This is just a brief overview of the numerous negative impacts of smoking, nicotine, and vaping on the health of your spine. If you are suffering from back pain and believe it’s attributed to smoking, reach out to your local Raleigh chiropractor for help. Our chiropractor, Dr. Bryan Osborne, has the experience and training necessary to take a comprehensive, well-rounded approach to the health of your spine. In addition to diet and lifestyle changes, our chiropractor will also perform spinal adjustments that can improve the overall alignment of your spine. This could make it much easier for your back to recover fully following an injury or illness. So give us a call. We’re here to help!