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Thread: Very occasional smoke, increased pain. What's going on?

  1. #1
    Member harpo2's Avatar
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    Very occasional smoke, increased pain. What's going on?

    Of course, most will say, don't bloody smoke. But I would be lucky to smoke 2 ciggies a week ,only when someone comes around who is a smoker and I bum one or two off him. Have not smoked full time for over 30 years. But immediately (within 10 seconds of taking the first lungful) the NP jumps from it's normal buzz of 2-3 to 5-6 and stays so for a few hours, then back to standard. I like the opportunity of laying back, having a beer and a smoke with company, watching some sport on TV. If I am prepared to cop the increased pain for the opportunity to let off steam from time to time, is the nicotine causing a problem? Any experiences greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by harpo2; 02-18-2007 at 02:41 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member lurch's Avatar
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    I don't smoke much but I have found that a drag on tobacoo increases my burning neuropathic pain straight away .
    short answer ,don't smoke.

  3. #3
    Senior Member CapnGimp's Avatar
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    I quit smoking cigs about 3 yrs after my injury. I noticed a significant decrease in np. It still has the flare ups, but it isn't there 24/7 anymore.
    Try something besides tobacco if you absolutely must smoke.

  4. #4
    It's funny, if you search the medical literature there's a number of references that indicate nicotine seems to decrease pain, but everyone I've heard mention this topic indicates smoking makes it worse.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by lurch
    I don't smoke much but I have found that a drag on tobacoo increases my burning neuropathic pain straight away .
    short answer ,don't smoke.
    Ditto. One ciggy is enough to make my feet and legs BURN.
    Daniel

  6. #6
    Maybe its just the overall action that cigs have on the peripheral blood flow,it does constrict vessels.thats the big reason my docs have been on my ass to quit.i keep trying with no real success.i have an aneurysm so this has really become a major major issue for me but soooo friggin hard to do.my husband keeps telling me that "ill bet if you quit alot of your pain might go away" i know he is probably right about that but admitting he is right isn't real easy either ya know?but one way or another this has to be done,but having the severe recurrent depression and wayyy too much time on my hands right now doesn't make things real easy now.

    i could just kick myself for ever starting back up once i got out of the surgical hosp,and transferred to the rehab hosp and had actually weaned completely off the nicotine patches and went over one month without any cigs,but as soon as the central pain(which i had thought was just part of my post op pain til later)started to get much worse and not better,i fell right back into my old 'coping" crap of grabbing a cig and pacing outside again.my brain sees cigs as part of a pain coping thing now and man it sure didn't take much for that to trigger again.i,along with my family were all very dissappointed when i went back to them,and i don;t blame them,i blame me.its just my biggest weakness right now.just another dissappointment.

    i most definitely feel there is a connection between what our body naturally does when nicotine is introduced(the constriction of peripheral vessels) and pain triggering.i would love to feel the actual difference in just where my pain would be without the smokes again.i keep trying tho.marcia

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by dan_nc
    Ditto. One ciggy is enough to make my feet and legs BURN.
    same here...

  8. #8
    It's probably the effect of the nicotine on your system since you only have an occasional cigarette. That would give anyone a buzz and perhaps increase your pain. I smoke a lot and it doesn't cause me any less or any more pain either way. The cigarettes are just killing me.

    I stopped drinking every other day to every other two weeks or so and I get drunk a lot faster/easier now and the same would be true with cigarettes and the nicotine they contain. And of course I smoke more cigarettes when I drink.

    It's a matter of tolerance. If you take OxyContin every day for months or even heroin you need to keep taking more to maintain the same effect. After awhile you're just maintaining a level of "comfort" or perhaps even a habit (so to speak). If you only take a few OxyContins or some other opioid every month you'll get really high off of them. If I get high on Oxies for a couple/few days it takes my body 5 or more days to get back to "normal". A mini cold turkey.

    If you don't have the nicotine addiction or cigarette habit just stay away from them. You never know, you might start getting hooked on them and that would be a big mistake.

    Bob. *cough*
    "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle." - Philo of Alexandria

  9. #9
    i think nicotine works the opposite of meds that help control neuropathic pain. Tricyclis antidepressants such as elavil(amitriptyline) . from rx list= Amitriptyline inhibits the membrane pump mechanism responsible for uptake of norepinephrine and serotonin in adrenergic and serotonergic neurons
    from wikipedia
    Pharmacodynamics
    Nicotine acts on the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. In small concentrations it increases the activity of these receptors, among other things leading to an increased flow of adrenaline, a stimulating hormone. The release of adrenaline causes an increase in heart rate, blood pressure and respiration, as well as higher glucose levels in the blood.

    The sympathetic nervous system, acting via splanchnic nerves to the adrenal medulla, stimulates the release of epinephrine. Acetylcholine released by preganglionic sympathetic fibers of these nerves acts on nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, causing cell depolarization and an influx of calcium through voltage-gated calcium channels. Calcium triggers the exocytosis of chromaffin granules and thus the release of epinephrine (and norepinephrine) into the bloodstream.

    Cotinine is a byproduct of the metabolism of nicotine which remains in the blood for up to 48 hours and can be used as an indicator of a person's exposure to smoke. In high doses, nicotine will cause a blocking of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, which is the reason for its toxicity and its effectiveness as an insecticide.[citation needed]

    In addition, nicotine increases dopamine levels in the reward circuits of the brain. Studies have shown that smoking tobacco inhibits monoamine oxidase (MAO), an enzyme responsible for breaking down monoaminergic neurotransmitters such as dopamine, in the brain. It is currently believed that nicotine by itself does not inhibit the production of monoamine oxidase (MAO), but that other ingredients in inhaled tobacco smoke are believed to be responsible for this activity. In this way, it generates feelings of pleasure, similar to that caused by cocaine and heroin, thus causing the addiction associated with the need to sustain high dopamine levels.
    cauda equina

  10. #10
    I'll tell you what, since I quit smoking last year my pain has gone down considerably and I'll never do it again. I did have one cigarette over the summer and remembered right there how much pain I used to be in. I'm still not out of pain but I do feel a lot better. I know these probably aren't the answers you're looking for but good luck on quitting anyways. Trust me, dealing with the pain for me is not worth the cigarette.
    C-5/6, 7-9-2000
    Scottsdale, AZ

    Make the best out of today because yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come. Nobody knows that better than those of us that have almost died from spinal cord injury.

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