Southeast Regional
Pain Center

Call to book

Quitting Smoking Helps Reduce Chronic Pain

Can Stopping Smoking Help with My Chronic Pain?

At Southeast Regional Pain Center (SERPC), we understand the complex relationship between chronic pain and lifestyle factors such as smoking. For individuals struggling with chronic pain, especially those experiencing back, neck, pelvic pain, headaches, or migraines, the decision to quit smoking could be a significant step towards better pain management and overall health.  There is enough data to show that quitting smoking helps reduce chronic pain for us to know with common sense that we should all look to make it happen. Let’s explore the connection between smoking and chronic pain, along with the benefits of quitting and strategies to help you kick the habit.

Eye Opening Statistics About Smoking

Firstly, let’s delve into some eye-opening statistics about smoking and its detrimental health effects. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking cigarettes is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. Each year, smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths, with approximately 16 million Americans living with smoking-related illnesses. These illnesses include heart disease, stroke, respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and various types of cancer, including lung, throat, and bladder cancer.

Smoking and Chronic Pain Are Closely Related

But how does smoking impact individuals living with chronic pain? Research has shown that smoking can exacerbate chronic pain conditions and hinder pain management efforts. Nicotine, the addictive substance found in cigarettes, can constrict blood vessels and reduce blood flow to tissues, leading to decreased oxygen and nutrient delivery to muscles and nerves. This can worsen pain symptoms and interfere with the body’s natural healing processes.

Inflammation and Smoking Lead to Prolonged Chronic Pain

Moreover, smoking has been linked to increased inflammation in the body, which plays a key role in many chronic pain conditions. Inflammation is the body’s response to injury or infection, but chronic inflammation can contribute to the development and progression of conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and autoimmune disorders. By perpetuating inflammation, smoking may intensify pain and prolong recovery times for individuals with chronic pain.

Health Benefits of Quitting Smoking

Now, let’s shift our focus to the benefits of quitting smoking for individuals living with chronic pain. Quitting smoking can lead to numerous health improvements, including reduced pain intensity and frequency. 

Studies have shown that individuals who quit smoking experience significant reductions in pain levels, improved physical function, and enhanced quality of life compared to smokers. Additionally, quitting smoking can lower the risk of developing smoking-related illnesses and improve overall cardiovascular health.

quitting smoking helps reduce chronic pain

But It’s Not Easy to Quit Smoking and Overcome Nicotine Addiction

However, quitting smoking is easier said than done. Nicotine addiction can be incredibly challenging to overcome, and many individuals may struggle with withdrawal symptoms and cravings when attempting to quit. Fortunately, there are various resources and strategies available to support smoking cessation

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

NRT products, such as nicotine patches, gum, and lozenges, deliver a controlled dose of nicotine to help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. These products can be obtained over-the-counter or prescribed by a healthcare provider.

Prescription Medications

Certain prescription medications, such as bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix), can help reduce nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms. These medications work by targeting the brain’s nicotine receptors, making smoking less satisfying.

Behavioral Support Counseling

Support groups, and behavioral therapy can provide valuable guidance and encouragement for individuals trying to quit smoking. These resources offer strategies for coping with cravings, managing stress, and maintaining motivation throughout the quitting process.

Get a Referral from your Doctor and Visit SERPC

At SERPC, we recognize the importance of addressing lifestyle factors such as smoking in chronic pain management. If you’re struggling with chronic pain and looking to quit smoking, we’re here to help.  We know with a high degree of certainty that quitting smoking helps reduce chronic pain, and we are here to help you get there. 

With our comprehensive approach to pain management and specialized treatment options, we can work with you to develop a personalized plan to alleviate your pain and improve your quality of life. Don’t let chronic pain and smoking hold you back – take the first step towards a healthier, pain-free future by seeking a referral from your doctor and contacting SERPC today.