For years, research has shown a link between smoking and an increased risk for low back pain, intervertebral (spine) disc disease, and inferior patient outcomes following surgery. A new study, published in the December 2012 Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, also found that smokers suffering from spinal disorders and related back pain, reported greater discomfort than spinal disorder patients who stopped smoking during an eight-month treatment period.
- Those who quit smoking during the course of care reported greater improvement in reported back pain those those who continued to smoke.
- The group that continued smoking during treatment had no clinically significant improvement in reported pain.
- Greater mean improvement was observed in patients who had never smoked when compared to current smokers.
“This study supports the need for smoking cessation programs for patients with a painful spinal disorder given a strong association between improved patient reported pain and smoking cessation,” said Dr. Glenn Rechtine, University of Rochester Department of Orthopaedics.