New studies have shown that smokers are more likely to suffer from chronic back pain than non-smokers.
In 2003, the Robert Koch Institute interviewed more than 8000 private persons in the course of a telephone health survey, which included questions on social and demographic themes, as well as health and life style.
On the basis of the collected data, Monique Zimmermann-Stenzel and her colleagues examined whether there was link between smoking and chronic back pain.
They found that smokers or former smokers suffer chronic back pain much more often than do non-smokers.
The number of years the subjects had been smoking or had smoked was decisive.
The evaluation showed that subjects who had consumed tobacco for more than 16 years had a two-fold greater probability of suffering chronic back pain than subjects who had smoked for less than 10 years.
The probability of back pain was further multiplied for subjects who had smoked for longer than 26 years.
On contrary, the frequency with which the subjects consumed tobacco and the quantities smoked did not play a role.
However, the researchers pointed out that tobacco consumption does not necessarily cause chronic back pain.
It is just as possible that people with chronic back pain smoke to alleviate the pain.
The exact link between smoking and back pain will have to be clarified in appropriate studies.
These could offer additional possibilities to prevent chronic back pain or smoking motivated by this.
The study is published in the current edition of Deutsches Arzteblatt International.