When you live with chronic pain, you know how hard it can be to find any relief. However, smoking can worsen chronic pain, and cause other health problems. The addictive substance in cigarettes is called nicotine. Nicotine is sneaky, and tricks your body into thinking it feels better for a short period of time. However, smoking can interfere with your pain management plan. Here is the information you need to know about the link between smoking and chronic pain.
How does smoking worsen chronic pain?
As we mentioned earlier, nicotine can only make your body think that it feels better. However, this nicotine-induced relief doesn’t last long, and it comes at a high cost. Smoking and nicotine don’t offer any real relief from chronic pain. The fact is that smoking worsens chronic pain.
Oxygen is essential to your entire body. Your lungs help deliver oxygen to your blood. Then, your blood carries nutrients and oxygen throughout your body. When you smoke, you inhale many different chemicals. Over time, your lungs won’t be able to work properly.
In addition to damaging your lungs, smoking can cause other organs, tissues and bones to weaken and develop other conditions because of the lack of oxygen and nutrients. Smoking can also make it harder for your body to heal, worsen fatigue and increase inflammation. These symptoms can make existing chronic pain even worse, but adding smoking to the mix can have a serious impact.
Smoking can also cause you to develop other painful conditions, including:
- Lung cancer
- Heart disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Chronic bronchitis
- Other chronic lung diseases
What can you do to feel better?
The first step to feeling better is to quit smoking. Stopping smoking can be challenging, but you can do it. Here are some quit smoking tips.
- Choose your quit day. Pick a day that is a couple of weeks away, so you have time to prepare. Mark your quit day on a calendar. Write the date down and tape it to your mirror. Tell your family and friends. Do anything you need to do to help you stick to your quit day.
- Ask for help. Tell your family and friends about your plan to quit smoking. They will be part of your support system, and they will be able to offer you encouragement. Let them know of ways they can help you ahead of time.
- Be prepared. Before your quit day, get rid of anything that reminds you of smoking. This could include ashtrays, cigarettes and empty cigarette cartons. Clean your house, car and clothes thoroughly. The smell of old smoke can trigger cravings, so getting rid of things that remind you of smoking can help you stay on track.
- Talk with your doctor. Your doctor will want to know about your plan to quit smoking and will be able to help you stay smoke-free. At first, you may need to use nicotine replacement patches or gum. Your doctor can recommend the best products for you and give you advice on how to use them properly. Your doctor will likely want to keep track of your progress as well.
- Join a support group. Quitting smoking is hard, and you might feel frustrated sometimes. Joining a support group is a great way to meet people going through the same situation you are. You can hear their stories and gain valuable advice about what has worked for them.
Remember: it takes time to quit smoking, but you can do it. While there is a strong link between smoking and chronic pain, there are steps you can take to feel better. Living a smoke-free life adds up to better long-term pain management and overall good health.