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BACK PAIN: Did your parents smoke when you were a child?

Illness moves in mysterious ways, but who would have thought that back pain could be linked to an exposure to cigarette smoke as a child? Researchers at Oslo University postulate that cigarette smoke could interfere with the development of the spine.

Their theory is based on a study of nursing aides. Those whose parents smoked when they were children were more likely to suffer lower back and neck pains than those whose parents did not smoke, they observed.

The aides whose parents smoked also took more sick leave, often taking off up to eight weeks a year.

The smoking link to back pain has been put forward several times before, but the Norwegian researchers are the first to put some verifiable data to the theory.


  • European Journal of Public Health, 2004; 14: 296-300