How Alcohol can Impact Back Pain

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: March 3, 2022

Alcohol back pain

Like most of our dietary choices, anything in moderation is fine as long as we make healthy choices most of the time. An ice cream cone on a warm summer day or an old fashioned with your Friday fish dinner isn’t going to cause huge issues for your health, but if these choices start making up a larger portion of our daily calories, health issues can follow. That’s especially true for alcohol, which some people turn to in times of physical or emotional pain or discomfort.

That’s because in excess, alcohol can act as an unorthodox painkiller because of how the substance affects a person’s brain and neurological responses. That’s why some people with chronic pain or a bad back turn to alcohol to drown out their pain. Unfortunately, this method can typically cause more harm than good. Below, we take a closer look at some of the potential issues associated with turning to alcohol for back pain relief.

Back Pain And Alcohol

Studies have shown that a glass of wine or a small amount of alcohol can actually lead to some positive health benefits. It can help a person relax and destress, and as we’ve mentioned on the blog in the past, stress can lead to the physical manifestation of back pain. But again, moderation is key. It’s a better idea to turn to healthier ways to reduce stress, like by exercising or meditating to achieve similar results.

So while there can sometimes be small benefits associated with very limited alcohol intake, there are more potential pitfalls associated with trying to relieve or lessen your spine pain with the help of alcohol. Here’s a look at a number of concerning facts and findings associated with alcohol and back pain:

  • You need to drink beyond moderation in order to achieve some of the pain-relieving effects of alcohol, which can be unsafe.
  • About 28% of people with chronic pain turn to alcohol to manage their spine pain.
  • The more you drink, the more you’ll need to consume in the future in order to achieve the same effects.
  • Alcohol mixed with medications for back pain relief can have devastating consequences. For example, alcohol mixed with acetaminophen can lead to liver problems or failure, alcohol with aspirin increases your gastric bleeding risk, and alcohol with prescription opioids increases your overdose risk.
  • Alcohol dependence can lead to symptoms of withdrawal if you attempt to cut back or quit drinking.
  • Alcohol is a short-term solution to a long-term problem, and it doesn’t address the underlying cause of the issue, so it won’t ever help you find long-term relief.

The last bullet point is the key consideration when it comes to managing back pain with alcohol. It may seem helpful for a few hours, but it’s not going to correct the underlying problem, so you’re just going to wake up with the same unaddressed pain the following morning. For some, pain is actually worse the next day because they further worsened their condition. Back pain is a signal that we need to stop certain activities, and if those pain signals are drowned out by alcohol, we could end up overstressing our already injured back because of the effects of alcohol.

Instead of turning to a short-term solution that can cause a number of related health issues, find a more active solution that targets the underlying cause. Set up an appointment with a specialist like Dr. Sinicropi, get a diagnosis and let him set you up with an individualized care plan. It’s never too late to get the active treatment you deserve. For more information or for help with your spinal discomfort, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.

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