Quit Smoking to Relieve Back Pain

Julia Little  |  April 28, 2014

Back pain is associated with a number of causes, mostly musculoskeletal, but a recent study showed a connection that may surprise many people. The research, presented at the recent 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, found that quitting smoking may reduce pain in the back and legs.

The study looked at 6,779 individuals undergoing treatment for spinal disorders that caused severe spine and leg pain, and considered their age, gender, weight, amount of pain and smoking history. The researchers found that individuals who currently smoke experienced greater pain than those who had never smoked, and those who quit smoking during their treatment reported a greater reduction in their pain than those who kept on smoking. 

These results show that not only does smoking affect the body in ways you may not realize, but it's truly never too late to quit. Quitting at any age provides substantial health benefits and improves senior living experiences. Fortunately, Medicare has stepped in to help with this process, NPR reports. Last year, the federal healthcare program began offering the same type of cessation assistance to its beneficiaries as is offered by many private health insurance providers, because the federal healthcare law requires coverage of preventative treatments recommended by the U.S. Preventative Task Force. This independent medical panel strongly recommends treatments to help people kick the habit, so they can now be part of elder care without financial concern.

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