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Spine J. 2006 Sep-Oct;6(5):557-60. Epub 2006 Jul 11.

Smoking and degenerative changes of the cervical spine: a roentgenographic study.

Author information

  • 1dgore@physhealthnet.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND CONTEXT:

Cigarette smoking has been implicated in low back pain and intervertebral disc degeneration; however, there is no conclusive evidence that cigarette smoking is an important contributing factor to intervertebral disc degeneration.

PURPOSE:

The objective of this study is to determine whether heavy cigarette smoking is a contributing factor to the development and severity of degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine.

STUDY DESIGN:

This is a comparative roentgenographic study of degenerative changes of the cervical spine in age- and sex-matched smokers and nonsmokers.

PATIENT SAMPLE:

Two hundred asymptomatic subjects, 100 women and 100 men, were equally divided into 50 nonsmokers and 50 heavy smokers.

OUTCOME MEASURES:

A numerical grading system previously developed was used to grade the presence and severity of degenerative changes at each cervical level, and cervical lordosis was measured. This was performed on a lateral cervical spine roentgenogram.

METHODS:

A single lateral roentgenogram of the cervical spine was taken in each individual, and in the smokers a short questionnaire was administered to determine the amount and duration of smoking. The roentgenograms were read by the three authors. Average values of all three observers were used for statistical analysis.

RESULTS:

There were no statistically significant differences between smokers and nonsmokers.

CONCLUSIONS:

Based on the evidence of the plain roentgenograms used in this study, we found no evidence to suggest that cigarette smoking is a causative factor in asymptomatic people in the development of degenerative disc disease in the cervical spine. Whether cigarette smoking has a significant effect in people with neck symptoms cannot be determined by this study.

PMID:
16934727
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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