Smoking can impact your Physical Therapy.  A review of the the most recent statistics from American Lung Association ( and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reveals that over 430,000 people die each year from smoking-related diseases. The American Lung Association warns that cigarette smoking leads to 87% of lung cancer and emphysema.

Smoking is known to cause:

  • Heart disease
  • Lung cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Chronic lung disease

So we know smoking causes some pretty bad diseases!!!

Smoking can also impact your Physical Therapy and is bad for your bones!

Bones, tendons, and muscles all get their nutrition from a healthy blood flow. When a bone is injured (i.e. fractured) or a tendon/ligament is surgically repaired blood flow to the injured/repaired area delivers desperately needed nutrients to help the healing process.

Smoking caused an increased level of nicotine in the blood, which causes constricted blood vessels. This leads to decreased blood flow, which impairs delivery of oxygen and other nutrients to healing tissues.  This delay in healing can be as much as 50% during bone healing.  This mechanism is also responsible for delayed tendon-to-bone healing (similar to rotator cuff repairs).

Because of the reduced nutrition reaching the bones, bone density becomes affected and this can also lead to osteoporosis.

Quit Smoking For Better Healing

Chronic smoking is proven to have a significant impact on your health and can lead to:

  • Decreased bone and tendon to bone healing.
  • Increased risk of osteoporosis.
  • Increased risk of hip fracture.
  • Increased risk of blood clots.
smoking can impact your physical therapy

smoking can impact your physical therapy


Can these effects be reversed?

Research has demonstrated that cessation prior to surgery and during the rehabilitation process significantly reduces post-operative complications and improves success.  The time-line reported to reach physiologic baseline after you quit can range from 6 to 8 weeks.

If you are having difficulty recovering from or are scheduled to undergo a surgical procedure and you are currently smoking, you need to find a smoking cessation program.

Determine some ‘key drivers’ that motivate you to quit.

  • Reduce stress.
  • Find a support group and enlist help from family and friends.
  • Add a daily exercise program designed to help relieve stress, increase bone strength, and boost energy.  Utilize the knowledge of your physical therapist to help design this plan.

We can help you by prescribing the right exercise plan designed to speed the healing process and alleviate pain.

If you or someone you know is a smoker and is having difficulty getting rid of muscle, bone, or post-surgical pain, tell them about PHYSIO Physical Therapy and let our Revolutionary Treatment Techniques lead you/them to a healthier life.

(828) 348-1780

Christopher Taylor, PT

Chris Taylor is the Founding Physical Therapist at PHYSIO Physical Therapy and Wellness Asheville. He has been voted Best Physical Therapist in Western North Carolina every year by the Mountain XPress Reader Poll. His experience includes being a patient himself which deepens his understanding of each aspect of the rehab process. He has lived and worked in 11 states which contributes to the treatment style he has developed which breaks the mold. Become a better You today! #KeepAshevilleActive