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Smoking to manage pain - your experience?

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Last week I experienced what appears to be a herniated disc (my second one) and the associated sciatic pain. I noticed that when I smoked a cigar, my pain level went from 7 to 9 (on the 10-point pain scale in common use) down to 2 to 3 while smoking, and this lasted for up to an hour after. I thought it might be a result of just being more relaxed, or maybe I was just imagining the pain was less. I did a search and came across some research journal articles that were investigating the analgesic properties of nicotine. It turns out that nicotine may be an effective analgesic. It acts quickly (for me about 5 minutes after I light up) and has a half life of about an hour, which explains why I get almost another hour of relief after finishing.

Interestingly the received wisdom has been that smoking causes body pain (based on studies that correlated cigarette smoking with pain). But as with any study based on correlation, it is never possible to ascribe causality between the factors being correlated. If causality is ascribed, the first question usually asked when reviewing that kind of research for publication (I’m a retired professor and was a reviewer for a few journals in my field) is why couldn’t the true causality be reversed? This inspired some researchers to consider that pain may cause smoking instead of the other way around. Maybe people in pain smoke more because it provides some relief. At this point there is not a lot of research on humans (just rats and other critters), but what research there is seems to support nicotine’s analgesic properties.

Anyway, I’m curious if others have experienced pain relief when smoking, or if this is just all in my head. By the way, my wife – who is not a big fan of my cigar smoking – is now letting me smoke as much as I need to for pain relief, so even if this is just a placebo effect I’m not saying anything. I may even delay getting a planned cortisone injection :sneaky:.
 

Boudie

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I found a couple of articles that indicate nicotine patches can reduce pain post surgery. I didn't have a dictionary when I read the articles but nicotine acting as a nerve blocker was the crust of the findings.

Sorry to hear about the back problems, hope you find something that helps.
 
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I have had 2 lower back surgeries. In some pain all the time, really bad at times. A good cigar seems to ease the pain some. I’m not sure though if its enjoying the cigar and taking my mind off the pain or actually being an analgesic. Either way it helps somewhat. If it works, I go with it.


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nathanw13

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I can usually count on a cigar to at least postpone a normal headache, but I'm not sure whether it's the relaxation or if it's the nicotine. I tried using them to help my migraines to no effect.
 
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I also have back issues and notice relief while relaxing with a cigar, but also not sure if it is because of nicotine or just getting my mind off of my pain. Sometimes I sit on a heating pad while I smoke also.


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Cigary43

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Have suffered with Chronic Pain Syndrome for 24 years...due to several illnesses/diseases that flair.,,RA being one of them and Fibromyalgia.....Osteoarthritis as that should be enough for one person. I see Pain Management specialists once a month to take the dreaded opiates.....oral and patch. I do see relief when I smoke cigars for reasons that others have talked about as it does relax me for the couple of hours that I sit down and enjoy. For the last few years I started a program that I did a commercial for.,,,,some may have seen the commercials for Quell.....it works for me and it works much like a Tens Unit only so much better as it helps with pain of all kinds. It reduced mine down from a threshold of 9 down to my present number of 6....that's a lot for somebody who was taking up to 6 oxycontin per day.....now I only take 2.

Suffice to say I make sure when I order cigars and the wife finds out they come from Cuba that I tell her that Cohiba Espys help more than any other cigar brand..,,,yeah, I know but when there's a loophole why not exploit it?
 
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Thanks for the replies. The consensus seems to be it may be in our heads, it may be relaxation, but it seems to work. All I know is that last night I was in some sciatic agony. I told my wife I needed a smoke and remarkably she said to go for it. And I was mostly pain free for a couple of hours. A big two-fer: enjoying a great smoke and no pain.

So keep smoking my friends, and don't forget to tell your loved one, "I'm doing it for my health, dear."
 
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I’ve had cigars help headaches almost 100% of the time it works for me. I’m pretty sure there’s a study on nicotine helping headaches and helping you focus. I have some minor ADD and was medicated for a short time when I was younger but it never worked for me made me very moody and loss of appetite. I’ve noticed nicotine has helped me focus right after a cigar.
 

Cigary43

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Nicotine has shown to stimulate endorphins in the brain,,,,this is what helps with pain ( dopamine ) but it only lasts for a short time and is countered by all of the chemicals used in the makeup of tobacco so it becomes a circular process of pain relief,,,,much like opiates as an addiction tends to build. I'd rather smoke cigars actually than take a fistful of opiates as it becomes a choice of what one can deal with. I can sit for hours smoking a great cigar and let the world spin as opposed to sitting in a chair like a vegetable taking too strong of a pain killer that leaves one in a fog.

It's always going to be about choice in pain relief....what we can handle and what are the benefits and we're all different in this journey with pain. I feel for each and everyone here who deals with their own specific journey as it can be a lifelong one that leeches into our lives and change our perception of life.,,,physically, emotionally and spiritually and it dramatically changes the family dynamics where guilt becomes a factor as to how we are looked at,,,how we're treated and what our future holds. Prayers sent to ALL who suffer chronic pain,,,it is a hell on earth experience and treating pain is one thing but the ignorance of those who point fingers at those suffer who have never experienced this kind of life.,,,,,,,is the unkindest cut of all. JMHO
 

Boudie

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It is no one else's right to judge but I think people that use a lot of opiates for pain relief get a bad rap because the opiates seem to be their singular solution. When used as part of a multi-faceted pain management system they have their place. Too much experience with family and friends that allow their lives to revolve around the relief provided by opiates while forgoing the benefits of a healthy diet, exercise and spirituality.
 

BradMc

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It is no one else's right to judge but I think people that use a lot of opiates for pain relief get a bad rap because the opiates seem to be their singular solution. When used as part of a multi-faceted pain management system they have their place. Too much experience with family and friends that allow their lives to revolve around the relief provided by opiates while forgoing the benefits of a healthy diet, exercise and spirituality.
@Boudie Have to agree 100%, After what I went through last year with a Hip Replacement and then It dislocated , tearing lots of muscle, nerves and breaking some bones, with a pain level of 8 to 9 and While in Hospital and before the surgery they had me on drip Morphine (good stuff, but I was scared shittless) while at home I wouldn't have been able to function without the opiates, But having said that I got off them as soon as possible, All I could think of is being HOOKED , Like most of us in here I have an addictive personality, as I said before the Cigars did relax me ....... (y)
 
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I think alot of the whole smoking causing pain came about from cigarette smoking. Which constricts blood vessels, which in theory reduces blood flow and can inflame certain existing pain.

I'm assuming alot of the other garbage in cigarettes is the cause of alot of that, not sure how much nicotine itself has to do with that.

Nicotine is a weird substance in that its effects change depending on how it's taken, and how frequent it's taken.

Short, quick doses of nicotine (such as a cigarette), acts as a stimulant, and all the accompanying effects that come with stimulants( vessel constriction)

Long, slow and higher doses of nicotine (i.e. cigars) have a more analgesic effect. Which is why cigars are so relaxing(plus all the other psychological aspects), not necessarily just the fact of the nicotine, but the way its transmitted to the body.

Interesting stuff though. Glad to see people who get relief from cigars instead of going to painkillers.
 
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