Patients with spinal disorders who quit smoking may experience substantial improvements in back pain
Caleb Behrend, MD, from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, and colleagues present their findings in an article published in the December issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.
The authors mention that smoking has been identified as a modifiable risk factor for chronic pain disorders. "Furthermore, with regard to chronic pain disorders, smokers have reported an increased magnitude of pain when compared with nonsmokers," the authors write.
In the study, the authors reviewed questionnaires for 5333 patients . Patient-reported pain scores were assessed using a visual analog scale (VAS) of 1 being the least pain and 10 being the worst.
Compared with never-smokers, current smokers reported significantly greater pain scores at the latest follow-up ; mean VAS score, 4.49.
Patients who quit smoking reported significantly greater improvements compared with current smokers in worst weekly pain.
In addition, nearly 2-fold more patients who quit smoking reported a more than 30% decrease in worst pain than current smokers (32.0% vs 16.6%), and never-smokers reported a greater mean improvement in disability.
It was concluded that smoking cessation programs are needed to improve chronic pain among patients with spinal conditions.