The Connection Between Second Hand Smoke and Chronic Back Pain


Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 3.22.49 PMI find it difficult to fathom that anyone is still stupid enough to smoke in this day and age, but some still do.   See that woman with the crow’s feet?  She smokes.  See the man with the bags under his eyes?  So does he.    After viewing the damage that smoking can do to the human body, it is my informed opinion that smoking is a selfish, narcissistic indulgence that burdens our society and the smoker’s family members with trying to pick up the pieces left by the smoker’s damage on the planet and to his or her body.  It especially irks me to see parents of young children smoke.  What a selfish, selfish legacy to leave a child!

If every smoker had to be responsible for all of the related health care costs, he or she might give it a second thought….but no.  Some people are interested only in themselves, and to hell with their children, who have to watch their parents die from lung cancer….and to hell with their partners and spouses whose own health fails because of this narcissistic indulgence.   Yuck.  Those yellow teeth!  Those receding gums.  Smoking is disgusting!  Simply put, smokers are drug addicts.  Nicotine is a very powerful drug.  It is addictive.  If you are a smoker, you are addicted to a drug and this places you in the exact same category as other drug users, only, because the tobacco industry has financed their way through legislation, smoking cigarettes is not illegal….but it should be.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 1.01.35 PMThe above photo reminds me SO MUCH of a certain smoker that I know!

Do you live with a smoker?  This is a question that my chiro asked me the other day.  I answered, “No, I don’t….but I live near smokers….my neighbors, and I am frequently subjected to their smoke while I work.”

So now, I ask you.  Do you have a back ache?   I did, and that is why I went to see my chiropractor.    He told me this:

The smoker’s stupidity may not only be harming the smoker’s own body. It may, and probably is,  also harming yours.  Among the chronic diseases that second hand smoke can cause, that person’s smoke could actually be causing you body pain because it causes inflammation of the tissues surrounding and supporting  your spine and other bones. Second hand smoke can induce inflammation in the body and cause all kinds of body aches, including chronic back pain. Once the tissues that surround the spine become inflamed, back injuries are much more likely to occur.   Stress, lack of exercise, genetic predisposition, and exposure to toxins (like the secondhand tobacco smoke) can also contribute to chronic inflammation, but second hand smoke can be a dangerous culprit.

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Those who have to endure unpleasant, stinky second hand smoke not only have to look at the ugly yellow teeth, receding gums, pocked skin and early-developing crows feet and wrinkles that the smoker has. They also frequently suffer real pain because of that smoker’s selfish narcissistic addiction.  Smoking is TOTALLY self-centered!  It benefits no one, and if you find yourself growing pissed off as you read this, then you must be a smoker, you drug addict, you.

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 3.27.09 PMIf you live with a smoker, you must do what you can to protect yourself.  There are dietary selections that you can make that can make a big difference in your own health, in terms of inflammation.

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Studies have suggested that vitamin E may play a key role in protecting the body from pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines.  An excellent source of this vitamin is dark green veggies, such as  kale, broccoli, spinach and collard greens. Dark greens and cruciferous vegetables , such as Brussels sprouts and broccoli, also tend to have higher concentrations of the kinds of vitamins and minerals that you need, such as calcium, iron, and disease-fighting phytochemicals—than those with lighter-colored leaves.

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Foods high in saturated fat can exacerbate  inflammation big time. “Foods that are high in saturated fats  cause over-activity in the immune system, which can lead to joint pain, fatigue, and damage to the blood vessels,” this from Scott Zashin, MD, who is a clinical professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

  • Eat a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, such as seeds, beans, walnuts and winter squash.

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  • Watch your intake of refined carbohydrates such as pasta and white rice.
  • Eat plenty of whole grains such as brown rice and bulgur wheat.                    oil pulling

Consuming most of your grains as whole grains, as opposed to refined, white bread, cereal, rice, and pasta can help keep harmful inflammation at bay. That’s because whole grains have more fiber, which has been shown to reduce levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation in the blood, and they usually have less added sugar. However, a 2013 Harvard study found that not all products labeled “whole grain” are much healthier than their refined counterparts. To be sure you’re getting the benefits, look for foods with a whole grain as the first ingredient, and no added sugars.

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  • Eat lean protein sources such as quinoa, buckwheat, hempseed, chia, soy, mycroprotein (Quorn) (my fav), rice and beans, seitan, hummus and pita or peanut butter.
  • Avoid refined foods and processed foods.

    Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 3.52.14 PM                       oil pulling

  • Spice it up. Ginger, curry, and other spices can have an anti-inflammatory effect. Turmeric is one of the best! My naturopath recommends a tablespoon of turmeric in a cup of almond milk, heated and stirred until dissolved. While some hit the wine bottles at night, this turmeric drink is my before-bedtime beverage.

There are certain essential oils that also help with inflammation. You can buy any or all of these oils here at AJHAN LIFE.

1. Chamomile – Chamomile is best known for its effective anti-inflammatory properties. This oil helps to relieve muscle pain and spasms, low back pain, headaches and pain caused by PMS.

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2. Sweet marjoram – iSweet marjoram is the oil to use when you just feel like chilling, because it has sedative properties. This oil aids in relieving muscle pain and spasms, stiffness, rheumatism, osteoarthritis and migraine.

  1. Lavender – Lavender is one of my personal favorites and is probably the most famous essential oil for pain relief and relaxation. It has great anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and sedative properties and it also helps relieve muscle tension and spasms, joint pain and headache.

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  1. Eucalyptus – Eucalyptuc has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is excellent for muscle pain and nerve pain. Caution: Use this oil in very small quantities.
  2. Peppermint – Peppermint is great for muscle and joint pain, headache and nerve pain.

6. Rosemary – Rosemary has analgesic and antispasmodic properties. You can use it for relieving back pain, muscle and joint pain and headaches.

7. Thyme – Thyme is an antispasmodic that is good for joint and muscle pain as well as backaches.

8. Clary sage – Clary sage has calming and soothing properties, as well as anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, it helps to ease muscle tension, spasms and PMS pain. This is another oil that should be used in small quantities.  It can be used for many different things, such as mood swings and emotional stress, to name a couple.  This is most often used by women, but recent research shows beneficial properties for men as well.

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9. Sandalwood – h, how I love Sandlewood! This oil relieves muscle spasms. One of sandalwood’s most important uses is to sedate the nervous system, so it helps to reduce nerve pain.

10. Juniper – Juniper is an oil with antispasmodic properties. It helps relieve nerve pain, joint and muscle aches and spasms.

11. Ginger – Ginger can be used to ease back pain. It also improves mobility, and can be used to treat arthritic and rheumatic pain, muscle pain and sprains.

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12. Frankincense – Beautiful, miraculous Frankincense, also known as “liquid gold”,  has anti-inflammatory properties and also acts as a mild sedative. Use this oil to alleviate stress and relieve pain.  I continually burn Frankincense, Myrrh and Sandalwood in my diffuser.

13. Yarrow – Yarrow is a powerful restorative and analgesic pain reliever that has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It is excellent for muscle and joint aches and pains.

14. Wintergreen – Wintergreen this is not a well known essential oil, but it’s very effective to treat painful conditions including headache, nerve pain, arthritis and menstrual cramps. This essential oil is created by steam distilling the leaves, and it contains a very high percentage of methyl salicylate. This oil has pain-relieving properties similar to aspirin (salicylate is the principal component of aspirin).

15. Vetiver – not very known in the west, vetiver has been used since ancient times in Ayurvedic medicine. Vetiver essential oil is extracted from the roots of a grass known as Vetiveria zizanoides which belongs to the same botanical family as lemongrass and citronella. It brings relief to general aches and pains, especially for rheumatism, arthritis and muscular pain and headache.

  1. Helichrysum – this essential oil is quite expensive and valued for its pain relive properties. It has anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and analgesic properties. It helps to relieve arthritis pain and supports the nervous system. Pain relief reported by most users happens nearly instantly – certainly within minutes of application.

While you can use any of these oils on their own, it is also beneficial to blend up to three oils together. Don’t apply essential oils directly on the skin, but dilute it first with a carrier oil such as olive oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, etc.

Bath soak – good to soothe tired, aching muscles, relieve arthritis and rheumatism. Put a few drops of essential oil in a hot bath (you can also add 2-3 cups of Epsom salt to enhance the effect). It’s a good idea to mix the essential oil drops in a small amount of carrier oil first and then add to the bath.

Massage oil – use about 10 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce of carrier oil and massage this oil blend into any body part where your muscles are sore.

Hot or cold compress – According to the webmd website there is some evidence that heat can help decrease low back pain. Although there is little proof that cold will help, some people do find that heat or cold help them: apply heat, such as hot pack, for 15-20 minutes at a time. Ice and cold packs can relieve pain, swelling, and inflammation from injuries and other conditions such as arthritis. You may also want to try switching between heat and cold. Use heat for 15-20 minutes, then a few hours later use ice for 10 to 15 minutes.

To make hot compress take about a pint of hot water, as warm as you can comfortably tolerate, and add about 4 drops of your selected essential oil to it. Then place a small towel on top of the water and let it soak it up. Next squeeze the excess water and place it over the painful area. A cold compress is made exactly the same as the hot compress, but ice or refrigerated water is used instead of the hot water, and the compress is replaced when it has heated up to body temperature.

Doterra also makes a great “Icy Hot” type rub that contains their own blend of some of the oils mentioned above. It is really great for chronic back pain. It is called Deep Blue Rub and can also be purchased at AJHAN LIFE.

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Do what you can to avoid second hand smoke and those who are dumb enough to still smoke in this age of information. Eat good, whole foods, get plenty of exercise and take care of yourself!  Smoking is just stupid.

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 3.53.36 PMPoor widdle loser smoker.  yuck!  You is a drug addict.  Get help!

2 responses »

  1. You taught me a lot about nutrition in this post. When I worked in the casinos I was surrounded with smoke. I washed my clothes after one wearing but the smell was in my shoes and jackets. I could smell cigarette smoke in the house for two years after I retired. Evil habit.

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