Smoking produces profound changes in physiology beyond those associated with the delivery of nicotine to the bloodstream. It has been discovered that smoking is a risk factor for chronic pain. Robust epidemiological evidence is showing that smokers not only have higher rates of chronic pain but also rate their pain as more intense than nonsmokers, though the reason for this is currently unknown and is the focus of many research studies. Recent evidence suggests that smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to experience chronic pain. In fact, it appears that chronic pain is even more prevalent among former smokers than it is among those who have never smoked. In addition, smokers with chronic pain indicate that their pain is more intense than that of nonsmokers and say that their pain is associated with more occupational and social impairment. These observations are even more interesting given that they are contrary to what would be expected because of nicotine’s known analgesic properties. It is known that smoking can cause or worsen painful medical conditions, increase sensitivity to and perception of pain, and interfere with pain medicine. Smoking accelerates degeneration of the spine and discs resulting in back pain. It also contributes to joint pain.
If you would like help to stop smoking tell your health care provider as many options are available.