Smokers are more likely to report problems with persistent musculoskeletal pain than non-smokers, a new study has found.
Researchers from the University of Kentucky School of Public Health surveyed more than 6000 women participating in the Kentucky Women's Health Registry, which regularly polls women on health-related issues to better understand the state's disease burden.
The Kentucky researchers categorized survey respondents according to age and smoking status, with smokers further classified by their amount of daily cigarette intake.
The study findings showed that smokers are significantly more likely to report chronic pain than non-smokers. Daily smokers were two times more likely to report pain than non-smokers.
Those who smoke a pack or more a day also were most likely to report a high burden of chronic pain.
The authors noted that smoking-induced coughing increases abdominal pressure and back pain and nicotine may decrease pain thresholds by sensitising pain receptors.
The study also showed a dose-dependent relationship between smoking frequency and having chronic pain syndrome.
This may indicate that smoking cessation treatments could be helpful for chronic pain management therapy.
The findings have been published in the Journal of Pain, published by the American Pain Society.