What Does Smoking Have to Do with Herniated Discs?

Read Transcript

Nicotine in and of itself leads to, believe it or not, the degeneration of your disc. What does that mean? What's the difference between a herniated disc and a degenerative disc? Let's go back to that doughnut analogy again. Think of the herniated disc we have a nice healthy jelly donut, when the donut covering tears, the jelly comes out, that's the herniated disc.

Now let's pretend we bought that doughnut and we left it out on the kitchen counter for a month that would be a degenerative disc, a stale sort of jelly-less or rotten jelly or not such a great fresh doughnut anymore, that's the degenerative disc that is where you get wear and tear on it.

All of us will get that at some point in our life, but whether it causes symptoms is another story. Most of the time it doesn't but smokers the nicotine in smoking kills the cells that lives in your discs. So it's an end, you don't see that right away, see that over time but you're going to show up with a back problem or neck problem earlier in life as a long term smoker.