Seven articles on PainSci cite Behrend 2012: 1. The Complete Guide to Trigger Points & Myofascial Pain 2. The Complete Guide to Low Back Pain 3. The Complete Guide to Chronic Tension Headaches 4. The Complete Guide to Neck Pain & Cricks 5. Your Back Is Not Out of Alignment 6. Smoking and Chronic Pain 7. Vulnerability to Chronic Pain
PainSci commentary on Behrend 2012: ?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.
This study added to the pile of evidence that smoking is “associated with low back pain, intervertebral disc disease” along with many other medical complications. Their conclusion, after studying the records of more than 5000 patients with “axial or radicular pain from a spinal disorder,” was that there is a “need for smoking cessation programs for patients with a painful spinal disorder.” Very likely both neck and back, of course.
~ Paul Ingraham
original abstract †Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
BACKGROUND: Smoking is associated with low back pain, intervertebral disc disease, inferior patient outcomes following surgical interventions, and increased rates of postoperative complications. The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of smoking and smoking cessation on pain and disability in patients with painful spinal disorders.
METHODS: We examined a prospectively maintained database of records for 5333 patients with axial or radicular pain from a spinal disorder with regard to smoking history and the patient assessment of pain on four visual analog scales during the course of care. Confounding factors, including secondary gain, sex, age, and body mass index, were also examined. The mean duration of follow-up was eight months. Multivariate statistical analysis was performed with variables including smoking status, secondary gain status, sex, depression, and age as predictors of pain and disability.
RESULTS: Compared with patients who had never smoked, patients who were current smokers reported significantly greater pain in all visual analog scale pain ratings (p < 0.001). The mean improvement in reported pain over the course of care was significantly different between nonsmokers and current smokers (p <0.001). Compared with patients who had continued to smoke, those who had quit smoking during the course of care reported significantly greater improvement in pain in visual analog scale pain ratings for worst (p = 0.013), current (p < 0.05), and average weekly pain (p = 0.024). The mean improvement in the visual analog scale pain ratings was clinically important in patients in all three groups of nonsmokers. As a group, those who had continued smoking during treatment had no clinically important improvement in reported pain.
CONCLUSIONS: Given a strong association between improved patient-reported pain and smoking cessation, this study supports the need for smoking cessation programs for patients with a painful spinal disorder.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Prognostic Level II. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
Specifically regarding Behrend 2012:
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- Cannabidiol (CBD) products for pain: ineffective, expensive, and with potential harms. Moore 2023 J Pain.
- Inciting events associated with lumbar disc herniation. Suri 2010 Spine J.
- Prediction of an extruded fragment in lumbar disc patients from clinical presentations. Pople 1994 Spine (Phila Pa 1976).
- Characteristics of patients with low back and leg pain seeking treatment in primary care: baseline results from the ATLAS cohort study. Konstantinou 2015 BMC Musculoskelet Disord.
- Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of universal school-based mindfulness training compared with normal school provision in reducing risk of mental health problems and promoting well-being in adolescence: the MYRIAD cluster randomised controlled trial. Kuyken 2022 Evid Based Ment Health.