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Smoking and musculoskeletal disorders: findings from a British national survey

Smoking and musculoskeletal disorders: findings from a British national survey
Smoking and musculoskeletal disorders: findings from a British national survey
Objectives: To explore the relation between smoking habits and regional pain in the general population.

Methods: A questionnaire was mailed to 21 201 adults, aged 16-64 years, selected at random from the registers of 34 British general practices, and to 993 members of the armed services, randomly selected from pay records. Questions were asked about pain in the low back, neck, and upper and lower limbs during the past 12 months; smoking habits; physical activities at work; headaches; and tiredness or stress. Associations were examined by logistic regression and expressed as prevalence ratios (PRs).

Results: Questionnaires were completed by 12 907 (58%) subjects, including 6513 who had smoked at some time, among whom 3184 were current smokers. Smoking habits were related to age, social class, report of headaches, tiredness or stress, and manual activities at work. After adjustment for potential confounders, current and ex-smokers had higher risks than lifetime non-smokers for pain at all of the sites considered. This was especially so for pain reported as preventing normal activities (with PRs up to 1.6 in current v never smokers). Similar associations were found in both sexes, and when analysis was restricted to non-manual workers.

Conclusions: There is an association between smoking and report of regional pain, which is apparent even in ex-smokers. This could arise from a pharmacological effect of tobacco smoke (for example, on neurological processing of sensory information or nutrition of peripheral tissues); another possibility is that people with a low threshold for reporting pain and disability are more likely to take up and continue smoking.
0003-4967
33-36
Palmer, Keith T.
0cfe63f0-1d33-40ff-ae8c-6c33601df850
Syddall, Holly
a0181a93-8fc3-4998-a996-7963f0128328
Cooper, Cyrus
e05f5612-b493-4273-9b71-9e0ce32bdad6
Coggon, D.
2b43ce0a-cc61-4d86-b15d-794208ffa5d3
Palmer, Keith T.
0cfe63f0-1d33-40ff-ae8c-6c33601df850
Syddall, Holly
a0181a93-8fc3-4998-a996-7963f0128328
Cooper, Cyrus
e05f5612-b493-4273-9b71-9e0ce32bdad6
Coggon, D.
2b43ce0a-cc61-4d86-b15d-794208ffa5d3

Palmer, Keith T., Syddall, Holly, Cooper, Cyrus and Coggon, D. (2003) Smoking and musculoskeletal disorders: findings from a British national survey. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 62 (1), 33-36. (doi:10.1136/ard.62.1.33).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Objectives: To explore the relation between smoking habits and regional pain in the general population.

Methods: A questionnaire was mailed to 21 201 adults, aged 16-64 years, selected at random from the registers of 34 British general practices, and to 993 members of the armed services, randomly selected from pay records. Questions were asked about pain in the low back, neck, and upper and lower limbs during the past 12 months; smoking habits; physical activities at work; headaches; and tiredness or stress. Associations were examined by logistic regression and expressed as prevalence ratios (PRs).

Results: Questionnaires were completed by 12 907 (58%) subjects, including 6513 who had smoked at some time, among whom 3184 were current smokers. Smoking habits were related to age, social class, report of headaches, tiredness or stress, and manual activities at work. After adjustment for potential confounders, current and ex-smokers had higher risks than lifetime non-smokers for pain at all of the sites considered. This was especially so for pain reported as preventing normal activities (with PRs up to 1.6 in current v never smokers). Similar associations were found in both sexes, and when analysis was restricted to non-manual workers.

Conclusions: There is an association between smoking and report of regional pain, which is apparent even in ex-smokers. This could arise from a pharmacological effect of tobacco smoke (for example, on neurological processing of sensory information or nutrition of peripheral tissues); another possibility is that people with a low threshold for reporting pain and disability are more likely to take up and continue smoking.

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More information

Published date: 2003

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 62026
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/62026
ISSN: 0003-4967
PURE UUID: 175e4a09-cc5f-4ee3-b468-10dba8e2cbd2
ORCID for Holly Syddall: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-0171-0306
ORCID for Cyrus Cooper: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3510-0709
ORCID for D. Coggon: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1930-3987

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Date deposited: 05 Sep 2008
Last modified: 09 Jan 2022 02:56

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Contributors

Author: Keith T. Palmer
Author: Holly Syddall ORCID iD
Author: Cyrus Cooper ORCID iD
Author: D. Coggon ORCID iD

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