Chronic Pain Management and Smoking Don’t Mix

Over the years I have been very outspoken about the need for people in recovery, who have an addictive disorder, to stop smoking.  About six years ago I was working with a doctor at a pain clinic who had done extensive research on the effects smoking has on pain management.  Recently I ran across a study that demonstrated that people who were living with neuropathic pain and continued to smoke were actually amplifying their level of pain. This was published in 2005 by the Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine Volume 28(4): 330-332.  I’m going to insert a portion of that report below.

The first subject rated his pain as 4/10 when not smoking and 7/10 when smoking. The pain subsided 30 minutes after smoking was discontinued. He noted an immediate increase in neuropathic pain when smoking. The second subject quit smoking for 1 month and immediately noted that the pain disappeared, rating it 0/10. After he resumed smoking, his radicular pain was 8.5/10 in the morning and 5/10 in afternoon.

This particular study focused on people with spinal cord injuries (SCI) and neuropathic pain, but the findings could translate to any type of neuropathic pain, whatever the trigger or pain generator was.  I have seen many patients quit smoking over the years and almost all that stopped reported an improvement in their pain levels.  Many of them did not have SCI or neuropathic pain, but even so they reported improvement in their pain management.

To learn more about my views about smoking, recovery and chronic pain management please check out my article Smoking and Recovery Just Don’t Mix that you can download for free on our Article page.

To learn about two skill trainings coming up in Sacramento California designed to teach treatment strategies for people living with chronic pain and coexisting disorders including disorders including addiction please Click Here.


You can learn more about the Addiction-Free Pain Management® System at our website If you are working with people in chronic pain or are living with chronic pain and have any resistance or denial and want to learn how to develop a plan for helping to identify and manage denial please go to our Publications page and check out my book the Denial Management Counseling for Effective Pain Management Workbook. To purchase this book please Click Here.

To listen to a radio interview I did conducted by Mary Woods for her program One Hour at a Time please Click Here to go to this interview.

To read the latest issue of Chronic Pain Solutions Newsletter please Click here. If you want to sign up for the newsletter, please Click here and input your name and email address. You will then recieve an autoresponse email that you need to reply to in order to finalize enrollment.

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