Recent research suggests that smoking may increase your odds of developing chronic pain like sciatica and back pain. In a study published in the Journal of Pain, researchers surveyed 6,000 women from Kentucky to see if a number of lifestyle factors influenced the risk of chronic conditions like sciatica, fibromyalgia and musculoskeletal pain.
Daily smokers were 104 percent more likely than non-smokers to have chronic pain. Occasional smokers were 68 percent more likely to suffer from persistent conditions, and former smokers were 20 percent more likely to experience chronic pain than non-smokers. In fact, puffing cigarettes daily proved to be a greater predictor of chronic pain than other common lifestyle factors like obesity, age and lack of education.
Researchers pointed out that their study does not prove causation however. They also raised the question that some women may turn to cigarettes to cope with existing chronic pain or stress. Although further research is needed, it is clear that safer methods of relaxation exist to deal with chronic pain, such as chiropractic treatment, massage and relaxation therapy. A chiropractor can counsel you on safe methods of treating and coping with sciatica and related conditions.
Mitchell, Michael et al. “Associations of Smoking and Chronic Pain Syndromes in Kentucky Women.” The Journal of Pain 12.8 (August 2011): 892-899. Accessed October 10, 2011. doi:10.1016/j.jpain.2011.02.35.