It is common knowledge that cigarettes are potentially lethal for the lungs. But can smoking cause arthritis too? Studies suggest that smoking could lead to joint pain as well, apart from being responsible for tooth decay, esophagus cancer, peptic ulcer and oral cancer.
How Does Smoking Affect Joint Pain?
A new study that recently emerged concluded that smokers are more likely to complain about pain in their back, neck, arms, and legs than non-smokers. Nicotine, one of the main ingredients in cigarettes, releases a hormone in the brain called dopamine, also known as the “feel good” hormone. This hormone temporarily masks pain signals to reach the brain but as the effect subsides, the pain feels more intense than before. Not only can cigarettes change how the brain sends pain signals, but they can also hinder the body’s circulatory system and prevent nutrients from flowing to the muscles and joints. Additionally, smoking slows down the body’s natural healing mechanisms, which makes it more difficult to recover from injuries that cause pain.
Effects of Smoking on the Joints and Cartilage
Smoking has been shown to have adverse effects on bones and joints as it reduces oxygen levels, which affects the healing capability of your body. Nicotine has other effects on the body as well, such as slows the absorption of calcium and the growth of osteoblasts (the body’s bone-forming cells). Together, these lead to the development of osteoporosis, or weak bones, thus leading to fractures. The immune system is also affected, which makes way for various other diseases to attack your body. In such a state, where most of the energy is utilized to protect the body from external damage, the internal health of joints and cartilages is compromised.
If you are a smoker and are already suffering from osteoarthritis, the condition could aggravate and worsen over time.
Alternatives to Smoking
The best alternative to smoking is simply quitting. However, in order to take one step at a time, you can try replacing your cigs with E-cigarettes. They are a decent alternative for those who are willing to stop, but need a process to wean themselves off the Nicotine in order to do so. E-cigars are not nicotine free, but they do not contain the 100 other additives, including tar.
Another method is to invest your time in recreational activities, such as indoor and outdoor sports or hobbies, such as painting, singing and dancing. This will not only keep you engaged, but also cause your brain to naturally release dopamine. This, in turn, would automatically signal your brain to NOT crave for cigarettes as you are already on a natural high.
Simultaneously, you should also keep your cartilage and joints supplied with essential nutrients from supplements, like FlexoPlex, to maintain the protective shield around it. Supplements provide the body with a fighting mechanism to protect and reverse the effects of smoking on bones and cartilages.
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