Smoking and Chronic Pain

Do you look to smoking for relief from a bad back? Or aching joints? Or abdominal pain?

Think twice before lighting up that cigarette. “Nicotine-induced pain relief is short-term. Over time, smoking may actually worsen your pain,” says pain management specialist Crawford Barnett, MD.

Smokers are nearly three times as likely to get lower back pain. Smoking may aggravate abdominal pain and joint pain, as well. In fact, smoking may increase pain sensitivity in general.

About 18 percent of people in the United States are smokers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet smokers make up more than 50 percent of patients who seek pain treatment.


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