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.
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