Stopping smoking may soothe back pain

Many adults will visit a physician for back pain at some point in their lives. But a new study finds that quitting smoking could be a smart choice to ease discomfort.

A new US study shows that smokers who stamped out their nicotine habit also reduced back pain. ©Sebastjan Medved/

When it comes to back pain, or pain in general, smoking isn't a good ally, with prior research associating smoking with increased risks for back pain. In a new study, researchers found that patients who suffered from spinal disorders and back pain and who smoked reported greater intensity of pain than nonsmokers. But smokers who stopped smoking reported reduced pain after an eight-month treatment period for back problems, according to the findings.

The analysis involved data from 5,333 subjects. Results were published Wednesday in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

"We know that nicotine increases pain," says study author Dr. Glenn R. Rechtine, of University of Rochester Department of Orthopaedics in the US. "In this study, if you quit smoking during treatment, you got better." He adds: "If you continued to smoke, there was statistically no improvement, regardless of the treatment you had."

In 2008, researchers reviewed data from a German health telephone survey in 2003 that involved 7,271 people, including nearly 2,000 who were smokers. Results show that smoking increased risks of chronic back pain, and the more years a person smoked, the higher the risks.

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Writer: AFP Relax News
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