Over 25% of Americans smoke, and it is common for those with chronic pain to use cigarettes as a coping mechanism to deal with it. A recent study published in the Journal of Pain look at whether or not smoking cigarettes is a good coping strategy for chronic pain management.
The study was performed out of the Oregon Health and Science University. Over 150 veterans were evaluated from the Oregon Veterans Medical Center.The participants were predominately male, white and middle-aged with the median age of 54 years.
They were asked two questions. One was whether or not they smoked, and the other was whether they smoked to help cope with pain.
Approximately 60% of the participants were smokers, and half of those smoked to cope with pain. When the researchers compared the groups, they found that those who smoked to cope with pain had worst outcomes than those in the other study groups.
Those who smoked but said they did not use it as a coping mechanism had the same pain related outcomes as non-smokers. Those who smoked to cope with chronic pain had worse outcomes in three categories. Pain levels overall were higher, functional abilities were lower, and that group tended to fear pain more.
Although the researchers found statistical significance that smoking is a poor way to cope with pain, they hypothesized on why those with pain use it to begin with. One of the researchers looked at it as a positive feedback loop with smoking being a risk factor for the development of pain and pain then serving to motivate smoking as a potential coping mechanism.
The researchers also thought that tobacco possibly desensitizes nicotine receptors which also may cause more pain sensitivity. This study is one of the first to show that smoking to cope with pain is not a great idea. Even though those who smoked not to cope with chronic pain had the same outcomes as non-smokers, there are still significant health risks with smoking, so it should be avoided if at all possible and Pain Management Doctors in Las Vegas discourage it.
If you live in the Las Vegas area and are suffering from acute or chronic pain, let the Nevada Pain Network help you. The Network connects those in pain with pain management Las Vegas and Henderson trust, simply fill out the form on the page or call (702) 323-0553 today.