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Monday, July 22, 2024

Drug addiction and the musculoskeletal system: effects on the skeletons and muscles

Drug addiction has got a negative impact on the overall health of people. Many people know the mental health problems that can happen to a person because of their addiction, but do you know about the numerous physical effects of drug addiction? Substance abuse has got a very big impact on the bones and muscles of the human body.

What are the effects of drug addiction on the muscular system?

Addiction and substance abuse can affect the brain, internal organs and also the muscles as well. Your muscles are everywhere in your body, and they are integral to your survival. After all, it is the muscles that pump blood and keep your body moving, which is why drug addiction can threaten your life because it has got numerous negative effects on your muscles.

Muscular degeneration

Repeated overuse of drugs can lead to the weakening and degeneration of the muscles in your body. It is mainly due to the malnutrition that is caused by drug addiction. Muscular degeneration can lead to a weaker body and also make a person have less stamina.

Chronic pain

An overuse of many different kinds of drugs can lead to chronic body pain, especially within the muscles. Drug addiction can lead to muscle pain because as the body becomes weaker, the muscles will not be able to support the body properly. Cramps, improper posture and many other kinds of conditions can also be caused by substance abuse as well. Heroin can affect your body’s muscles too. An addiction to heroin can lead to frequent cramping in your muscles, and this can be very painful if it is left untreated. As a person experiences more chronic pain, they may turn to using drugs even more. And this is a cycle that can cause huge problems because they just end up digging themselves deeper into their addiction.


Seizures are caused by your brain misfiring certain neuron signals. It misfires of neurons can be caused by a chemical imbalance due to the presence of drugs in the brain. So drug addiction can cause your muscles to contract and relax uncontrollably, which can be very painful and some seizures can even be life-threatening as well.

What are the effects of drug addiction on the skeletal system?

The effects of drug addiction are not only going to be detrimental to your muscles but your bones as well. Your skeletal systems health can be affected by your body in some different ways. And there are even some degenerative diseases that can be caused by an addiction to drugs. These are some of the common bone problems that can occur due to an addiction to drugs.


If drugs are taken intravenously, then bone infection can set in. Bone infection or osteomyelitis is incredibly serious because it is a disease that can destroy your bones from the inside out. If you have got osteomyelitis, this kind of bone infection would not immediately be apparent, because it gets worse over time. If left untreated a bone infection can leave a person with a permanent disability. Most of the drug addicts who get a bone infection do so because they use unclean needles or contaminated drugs. Heroin and meth addicts are the most common ones who get a bone infection due to their addiction.


Drug addiction can also hurt the density of your bones. Osteoporosis is usually caused by a lack of nutrition, however, in for drug addicts, this condition is very common. Drug addicts develop osteoporosis because they often do not get enough nutrients in their body. It is especially true for those that are addicted to meth and cocaine, these kinds of drugs can lower their appetites. And they would often not be able to eat the right kinds of food for an extended period. Opioid addicts, such as those who are addicted to meth, also have a higher rate of osteoporosis as well.

TMJ and Teeth Deterioration

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) often happens to those that abuse stimulant drugs. Another common condition for those who are addicted to stimulants is tooth deterioration. It happens because people who are addicted to stimulants would often grind their teeth. And that habitual tooth grinding can cause damage to the jaw’s joints and the teeth in your mouth. It is because stimulant drugs can cause people to become hyperactive and lose focus. In addition to stimulant addicts, crack, and meth addicts are also known to experience a lot of dental deterioration as well. It is because the drugs that they take can lower their mouth’s saliva production, and this can lead to tooth decay because saliva protects the mouth from bacteria.


Again malnutrition amongst drug addicts can lead to further bone and joint problems. Since many addicts often do not get enough nutrients, they will develop arthritis. It causes their joints to swell or become painful. It is mostly due to a lack of essential vitamins and minerals, which the body needs to repair itself. Without those nutrients, the joints would be unable to repair themselves. Thus, many addicts can end up getting joint pain, especially later on in life.

Spine problems

Drug addiction can also have long term effects on the spinal cord as well. Drug addicts, especially when they are high, will often have very poor posture, such as slouching. Or they may be laying down on improper surfaces, such as the floor. These kinds of things can put a lot of stress on the spinal cord. And it would also negatively affect the muscles in the back as well. If left uncorrected for too long, the poor posture caused by the drug addiction can lead to spine problems. A lot of opiate and depressant addicts would often not be able to maintain a proper posture due to their addiction. And this can lead to a weakening of the spinal muscles.

Addicts can experience even more complications to their skeletal health if they continue with their drug habit. These are just some of the skeletal problems that can be caused by addiction. If a drug addict continues abusing different kinds of substances, then their condition can only worsen. It is due to some different factors such as poor nutrition and improper posture. So the negative effects of drug abuse on the skeletal system are immense.

What counts as drug addiction?

If you are unsure whether or not a person is addicted to drugs, then you can check out the following things, to see whether or not they can be clinically considered to be addicted to drugs.

They develop a physical addiction to the drug. It is the more obvious sign of drug addiction. If a person develops a physical dependence on a particular drug, they may get headaches, stomach pains, and other bodily aches when they do not take the drug. They may also develop other kinds of symptoms such as insomnia, as they cannot fall asleep due to the lack of drugs in their body’s system.

The addict has got a psychological dependence on the substance. Psychological dependence on the drug can manifest itself in some different ways. Someone may avoid going out or doing a particular job if they do not take a certain kind of drug. Believing that they cannot do certain things, without a drug, can count as addictive behavior.

The substance abuse negatively impacts their lives and relationships. If the person continuously keeps on taking the drug despite the fact that it has damaged their life or one of their relationships in some way, then they are considered a drug addict.

The substance or addiction to the substance is constantly on their mind. If a person is always thinking about a particular drug, and when they can take it next, then they are certainly addicted to it.

What are some common addictive drugs?

Morphine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, methadone are all very common opioids. And many people become addicted to them when they are prescribed as pain medication. Often, an addiction to opioids can lead to other kinds of addictions such as heroin and meth addiction.


Many people also end up abusing stimulants. And some stimulants are prescription medications. One very popular stimulant that is abused by people is Adderall, and there are even young people, such as students who end up using Adderall and become addicted to it.


Steroid medications can be very harmful to people, and especially younger persons. It is because a lot of bodybuilders end up abusing this drug, and it can negatively impact their skeletal health. Overuse of steroids can cause the bones to stop growing, which can cause strain on the muscles and skeleton.


MDMA, which is also known as Molly is a party drug that can have a serious impact on the health of a person. Repeated overuse of MDMA can lead to muscular degeneration.


These medications such as alprazolam, zolpidem, and clonazepam, are called benzos. And they are highly addictive since they can induce feelings of relaxation and euphoria. Overuse of this drug can lead to muscle and bone problems, especially as a person gets older.

Can a person stop using drugs by themselves?

It is very difficult to convince a drug user to stop using if they are still ignorant about its impact. It can happen if they have not yet realized the harmful effects of the drug consumption. And their addiction only lets them sees the pleasure that the drug gives them. Drug addicts often start out being blind to the negative impact of their addiction, so they may not feel the need to stop when they are in the early stages of their addiction.

Regarding addiction, many drug users are not aware of their addiction and think they can stop when they want and often when they try to stop they discover their physical and psychological dependence on their drug. When a drug addict realizes that they must stop, they will not be able to, because they are already dependent on that drug.

Is there a way to help an addict in the late stages of their addiction?

Yes, there is a way to extend help to an addict that is already in the later stages of their drug addiction. Since their abuse of a certain drug or substance has caused them to become dependent on it, and it also makes it impossible for them to stop, it would be difficult for them to break their addiction alone. And that is where a drug rehab facility can help them. There are numerous benefits to the addict and their health when they go to a drug rehab treatment facility.

What can an addict get from a drug rehab facility?

Recovery from the degenerative effects of addiction is possible if a person is sent to rehab. Here are the various ways in which rehab can be of huge help to an addict, in their journey towards recovery.

Support that keeps them strong

Overcoming addiction by oneself is almost impossible. And this is where the therapists and other recovering addicts within rehab can come in to help. Within rehab, the support system that will surround the addict will allow them to find the strength to recover.

A better diet to improve their health

Malnutrition is very common amongst addicts. And when that happens they will often have numerous muscle and bone problems. A stay in rehab will ensure that the addict will recover from malnutrition. Most people in rehab are fed a very strict diet which is meant to help them recover from the degenerative effects of their addiction.

Recover from their dependence on drugs

Getting rid of the accumulated drugs in the person’s body is only the first step in overcoming addiction. The addict will need also to get rid of their psychological dependence on their drug. To an addict, not taking their drugs can be something that is frightening. They may feel bewildered, confused or even depressed if they do not have the drugs in their system. Psychological dependence on drugs can be something that is hard to overcome. And through therapy, the addict would be able to learn skills and methods that would help them battle their psychological addiction.


While there are numerous detrimental effects to both the muscles and the bones of a person, when they are severely addicted to drugs, there is still hope for them. One of the best steps that they can take towards recovering their health and their sanity is to check in to a drug rehab center. Only through the help of the medical professionals inside of a drug rehab center, will the addict be able to recover from their addiction and its negative effects on their health.