We blame cigarettes for just about every other health ailment, so why not neck pain? The fact is that researchers have recently studied this topic and revealed that the spine, especially the upper cervical spine, is adversely affected by a smoking habit. Here are the results of the study.
How Smoking Contributes to Neck Pain
182 patients were given CT scans to determine the degree of upper cervical degeneration. For the sake of the study, the discs between neck vertebrae were each given a score from 0 to 3 based on the amount of degeneration (0 being none and 3 being severe). That allowed researchers to score a person’s cervical neck on a scale of 0 to 15 in total. Considerations in the study included whether a person presently smoked, the amount smoked per day, and the number of years the smoking habit existed.
Individuals who were currently smokers scored one point higher in degeneration of the cervical spine on average. The length of time smoking didn’t seem to be a factor when age was also considered. This means that presently being a smoker has the most profound effect on the degeneration of a person’s neck. It provides smokers with one more good reason to quit.
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What Can Cervical Degeneration Result In?
If the cervical spine is allowed to continue degenerating, the result can be spinal arthritis and chronic neck pain. Other potential outcomes from upper cervical problems include headaches, dizziness, and various other symptoms. Two things that you can do to improve upper cervical health are giving up the practice of smoking and seeing a chiropractor who specializes in this part of the neck.
Upper cervical chiropractors use a specific method to diagnose the position of a misalignment and correct it with minimal force. This results in a long-lasting correction that gives the body a chance to heal. You can’t get back the part of a disc that has been lost, but keeping the neck in proper alignment may slow the degeneration process and keep chronic pain at bay.
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