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Answered by Dr. Thomas J. Dowling, Senior Partner. Q: Does smoking really affect my back? A: Everyone is aware of the negative impact that smoking has on our general health including our heart and lungs.  We all know how smoking decreases our sense of taste and smell, as well as, how smokers tend to look older than their age.  This is because substances within cigarette smoke affect connective tissue.  What one may not be aware of is that this connective tissue not only involves the skin, but also our muscle and skeletal structure.  The spine is particularly prone to damage.  Degenrative or age-related…

Golf and Low Back Pain

As with so many health conditions, a little effort to prevent back injury and low back pain goes a long way.  Three key areas of prevention for the sport of golf include: warm-up, swing, and bio mechanics. 1. Warm-up before playing golf to prevent low back pain Going directly to the tee at 7:00 AM, pulling out the driver, and then proceeding to try to hit the cover off the ball is probably the surest way to sprain one’s back muscles and result in low back pain.  Instead, a thorough warm-up before starting to golf-including…

Gardening Tasks and Your Back

Gardening and back pain don’t have to be synonymous.  Flare ups, strain, injuries or just plain ‘ole aches ‘n’ pains may be due to poor body mechanics. Following the best mechanics for digging and weeding will allow you to dig in and enjoy healthy gardening.  This is all about using your weight as leverage.  A couple of tips on successful leveraging: 1. Digging: Stay in alignment (starting with being mindful of the direction in which you shovel is facing.) As much as possible lean your weight rather than muscle with your arms. Move your whole…