Do you suffer from neck pain? If so, you’re not alone. Neck pain is one of the most common complaints that people have. And while it has many potential causes, smoking is among the most widely investigated risk factors. That’s because some patients needing neck pain relief in Escondido report being either smokers or were once smokers.
The Connection Between Smoking and Neck Pain
So, what exactly is the connection between smoking and neck pain? Below are some possible reasons why smoking puts you at risk for neck pain.
Smoking can damage blood vessels
Your blood vessels play a crucial role in bringing nutrients to your body. Unfortunately, smoking can damage blood vessels and affect the delivery or distribution of the nutrients your spinal discs need. This can lead to early degeneration of your discs, including the ones in the neck area, and can trigger neck pain and other symptoms.
Nicotine in cigarettes constricts blood vessels and reduces blood flow throughout the body. This decreased blood flow can cause tense muscles and pain in the neck and other areas.
Smoking Alters Blood Flow
As you may know, smoking brings several health hazards that can affect you differently. One of these hazards is altering your blood flow which can impact your heart and the rest of your body. Nicotine, commonly found in cigarettes, can influence the narrowing of your blood vessels. This can end up limiting the amount of blood reaching your organs.
Narrow or constricted blood vessels can seriously reduce the amount of oxygen and nutrients that go to your cells. When this happens, your ligaments and muscles within the spine extending up to your neck area can incur some damage.
Smoking puts you at risk for degenerative disc disease
Smokers are at high risk for degenerative disc disease. This condition makes the discs in your spine slowly degenerate or wear out and eventually break down. Poor management of degenerative disc diseases can eventually lead to nerve compression and severe pain. If you smoke and suffer from neck pain, you must do your best to quit as soon as possible. Not only will this help reduce your risk of more severe health problems down the road, but it may also help alleviate your neck pain.
Smoke from cigarettes contains chemicals that can influence inflammation in the body. Inflammation can make you feel stiff and sore and have neck and body pains. Your muscles may cause your muscles to feel tense due to smoking cigarettes. When your muscles are always tense, pain and stiffness in the neck may follow, making it uncomfortable and extremely challenging to move.
Smoking can make the spine weak
Cigarette smoking can contribute to the reduced nutrient content carried by your blood to your spinal discs and joints. As a result, smoking can increase your vitamin D and vitamin C deficiency risks.
Smokers may also experience slower vitamin D production; when you become vitamin D deficient, you increase your risk of decreased bone density. This can make you more susceptible to bone fractures and neck pain. However, quitting smoking can significantly bring lasting neck pain relief in Escondido and benefit your overall health.
Smokers may also process vitamin C significantly faster, which can lower your blood levels. Low levels of vitamin C are linked to neck pain, low back pain, and sciatica.
Upper Cervical Misalignment and Neck Pain
Smoking can be a significant trigger of neck pain. However, its effects on your bones and spine can also trigger a common yet often overlooked cause of neck pain: an upper cervical spine misalignment. If your upper cervical bones’ position shifts even by a small degree, your body can feel its effects and bring a host of symptoms. A misalignment in the spine can stem from an injury, poor posture, weight gain, nerve compression, stress, or even a sedentary lifestyle.
Finding the best neck pain relief in Escondido as soon as possible can spare you days, weeks, or even months of pain and discomfort that can hurt your productivity and affect your daily routine. Upper cervical adjustments can help the bones return to their proper alignment by using precise and gentle corrections that can remove the pressure from your neck, head, and spine and free your neck and the parts in the surrounding area from pain.
A promising long-term neck pain relief in Escondido
You can do several things to find relief if you suffer from neck pain. First, quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health and your pain if you’re a smoker. However, we understand that quitting smoking is easier said than done. So if you’re struggling to quit, it’s best to talk to an expert or a healthcare provider.
Another thing is to find a reputable chiropractic doctor who can perform upper cervical adjustments. These adjustments are customized to realign the bones in your upper spine that match your needs. This will eventually take the pressure off your nerves and often results in relief from neck pain, even after just a few adjustments.
An upper cervical chiropractor can make gentle adjustments and focus on the bones of your upper cervical spine—the top two bones in your spine located just below the base of your skull.
While waiting for your appointment, you may ease your pain by using ice or heat therapy, massage therapy, physical therapy exercises, and stretching. By combining these different modalities, including upper cervical care, you can find significant relief from even the most severe cases of neck pain.
To learn more about how we can help you find relief from your neck pain, schedule a consultation with us by calling our office at (760) 745-1511 or using this online form.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Rickards, call our Escondido office at (760) 745-1511. You can also click the button below.
If you are outside of the local area, you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.