Pain Intensity Related to Smoking Dependency

It has been proven through previous studies that there is a positive correlation between smoking dependency and pain. It is hard, however, to determine which comes first.  Is it that pain patients turn to smoking or the smoking creates higher levels of pain?  Previous studies identified the correlation between the two, but left out some important parameters we needed to get a closer look at this correlation.  A problem with previous studies is that they specifically looked at patients that were being seen for pain.   If a patient is seeking treatment for pain then it is probably on the more moderate to severe end of the pain scale.  This particular study that I looked into wanted to see how strong this correlation was when comparing smoking dependency in patients that had little to no pain against patients that had moderate to severe pain.

In this study, they wanted to look at how strong the correlation was between patient’s pain and their smoking habits. The best way to measure these two categories was with surveys.  Participants in this study were given multiple surveys to fill out to determine their pain level and smoking dependency.  These surveys include  the “Smoking History Questionnaire” (SHQ) to understand the patients smoking history, the “Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence” (FTND) that helps determine how depend a patient is to smoking, “The Short –Form Health Survey” which was used to determine the bodily pain in the patient, and the “Positive and Negative Affect Scale” (PANAS) which assessed a patients emotions.  The DSM-IV was also used during the assessment process.

The results of the study showed that there was an increase in smoking dependency in individuals that have a higher intensity of pain.  That being said, the study did have many limitations including diversity issues and relying heavily on self-reporting.  This study was a good step towards trying to figure out whether smoking dependency was associated with increased levels of pain.   This study is helpful because we can use this information to help patients that are trying to quit.  We can try to treat their pain so that we can reduce their dependency.  Further studies would help better understand this correlation and improve treatment of this disease.

http://Psychiatry Res. 2016 Mar 30;237:67-71. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2016.01.073. Epub 2016 Feb 3.

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