Women who smoke heavily may experience chronic musculoskeletal pain, finds study.
Researchers at the University of Kentucky surveyed more than 6,000 Kentucky women over age 18 on their smoking habits and symptoms of chronic pain.
They found that women who smoke, or were former smokers, had a greater chance of reporting at least one chronic pain syndrome.
Syndromes included in the analysis were fibromyalgia, sciatica, chronic neck pain, chronic back pain, joint pain, chronic head pain, nerve problems, and pain all over the body.
Former smokers showed a 20 percent increase, occasional smokers showed a 68 percent increase, and in daily smokers the odds more than doubled (104 percent).
In addition, daily smoking was associated more strongly with chronic pain than older age, lower educational attainment, obesity, or living in an Appalachian county.
"This study shows a strong relationship between heavy smoking and chronic pain in women," said co-author Dr. David Mannino, a pulmonary physician in the UK College of Public Health.
"There's a definite connection, but the direction of it is uncertain," he added.
The findings have been published in the journal of Pain.