New York: If you needed another reason to cut the cigarette habit: Smokers, especially younger smokers, are more likely to report low back pain than people who have never smoked, according to a new analysis.After examining existing research, Finnish researchers concluded smoking is "modestly" associated with the risk of low back pain and the effects may be "at least partly reversible." Their findings are published in the January issue of the American Journal of Medicine.Dr Rahman Shiri of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and colleagues wanted to know if smoking increases the risk of low back pain, a problem that affects an estimated 8 in 10 adults during some point in their lives.Previous analysis of the existing research came to different conclusions, with one study suggesting an association between smoking and low back pain and the other reporting "unclear findings."The Finnish researchers identified and reviewed 81 studies from around the world involving smokers, former smokers, or never-smokers and low back pain conducted between 1966 and 2009. Of those, 40 studies involving more than 300,000 adults and adolescents met the standards for the analysis.
The research suggests the young "might be more vulnerable to the effects of smoking than adults" because the low back pain/smoking association was stronger in adolescent smokers than adult smokers. Another explanation, the authors said, may be that it`s easier to identify and study true rate of low back pain in young people than in adults.The research does suggest "the effects of smoking may be at least partially reversible," since former smokers were less likely to seek care for low back pain than current smokers. More research into former smokers will be needed to make a more definitive claim, the authors said.Bureau Report
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