Smoking increases the risk of chronic back pain

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Smoking increases the risk of chronic back pain
Smoking increases the risk of chronic back pain - This is the conclusion of a recent study at Northwestern University in Evanston (USA), whose work delves into the fact that people who smoke are more likely to develop chronic back pain, as this habit reduces resilience to this ailment. The research has been published in the journal Human Brain Mapping.

It is not the first time a scientific study linking snuff with chronic pain but is the first to suggest that smoking interferes with a brain circuit associated with pain, why smokers are more prone to this condition.

The researchers studied 160 volunteers who had recently developed an acute back pain (which lasts 4 to 12 weeks) and 32 patients with chronic back pain (pain for 5 years or more) and 35 participants without back pain . For five different sessions on the same year, all study volunteers completed a questionnaire on various health conditions, such as daily consumption of snuff. Furthermore, they were subjected to MRI.

They found that the medial prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens played a key role in the development of chronic pain. The stronger the connection between the two areas was an individual less resistant to chronic pain and snuff seems that reinforces the connection. Compared with people who did not smoke, people that they did have a stronger connection between these brain areas, representing, according to experts, three times more likely to develop chronic back pain compared to nonsmokers.

“However, we have seen a dramatic drop in the activity of this circuit in smokers who – by his own will – stopped smoking during the study. So when they stopped smoking, their vulnerability to chronic pain was also reduced, “says Bogdan Petre, who led the study.

Considering that it is the second most common neurological pain with a significant impact on daily life, is a strong reason to quit.

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