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Two Friends of Pain

Photo courtesy of Tixu Oty


Recent research has revealed lack of sleep and smoking as friends of pain.  In other words, if you want to feel bad, stay up late and smoke!


A recent study published in December 2012 in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery found that patients with severe back pain who quit smoking reported less pain than patients who kept smoking.  Overall, those who smoked had more pain than those who didn’t and those who kept smoking during their low back pain treatment showed no improvement in their pain.  The reason, nicotine increases pain.


Another study had pain patients stay in bed an extra 2 hours a night.  They ended up sleeping for an extra hour and forty two minutes and reported a significant decrease in pain.  The reason, better brain function.


Both of these are far better options than taking drugs.  Typical over the counter painkillers are not without their significant risks including heart and kidney disease.  I like Snoopy’s advice on this one, “For a headache, nothing works better than aspirin.  So when you have a headache take nothing.”


Without downplaying the huge challenge of quitting smoking, it’s clear that for those who are in significant pain, quitting and getting more rest are great options.


I’ve observed that most people would rather take a pill for pain than change their lifestyle.  Why do you think that is?


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