Surprising Ways Alcohol Can Contribute To Back Pain

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

Alcohol Back Pain

Alcohol can have a number of effects on the brain and body. While alcohol may give you the courage to get up and sing at karaoke night, it can also cause some issues for our health, and many of the issues are not so obvious. In fact, your back is one area of your body that can suffer as a result of alcohol consumption. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at some of the not so obvious ways that alcohol can contribute to your spinal discomfort.

Alcohol And Your Back Pain

Alcohol can sometimes give the appearance of a short-term treatment for some mild forms of back pain, but drinking alcohol is never a good stand-alone option for back discomfort. Alcohol can slow the function of nerves and muscles, which may give the appearance of pain relief by relaxing muscles or drowning out some pain signals, but that’s not going to help in the long-term. In fact, there are other bodily processes at play when you’re consuming and processing alcohol that can cause problems for your back. One of the biggest issues is how alcohol can contribute to dehydration.

We’ve talked about all the ways that being dehydrated can affect your spine on this blog in the past, but we’ll touch on some of these issues again. When you’re drinking alcohol, your kidneys need to work harder in order to help break down the alcohol. They need a lot of water to break down the alcohol you’re consuming, and if you’re not staying hydrated with water at the same time, your body will pull water from sources inside the body. Oftentimes this means pulling water from muscles, which makes them work suboptimally.

If your muscles are dehydrated, you’re at risk for a number of different spinal muscle issues, including:

  • Muscle Strains
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Muscle Cramps
  • General Pain

Being dehydrated can also lead to constipation, which can be extremely uncomfortable if you’re already dealing with lumbar spine discomfort.

Dehydration isn’t the only way that alcohol can contribute to spine pain. Regular alcohol consumption can also negatively affect your immune system. Your immune system is imperative for helping your body recover after injury, illness or an intense workout. If alcohol has impacted the health of your immune system, your recovery can take longer than normal, leading to prolonged spine discomfort.

Finally, while very small amounts of alcohol have been shown to have mild anti-inflammatory effects, overall alcohol is pro-inflammatory. This means that inflammatory conditions in your spine can worsen as a result of your alcohol consumption. If inflammation is putting pressure on a spinal nerve, or you’re dealing with osteoarthritis in some areas of your spine, alcohol consumption can ensure that these inflammatory conditions persist. Don’t turn to alcohol to help drown pain from osteoarthritis, because it will only prolong your discomfort.

Alcohol in moderation likely won’t cause many problems for your spine, but if you’re consuming alcohol semi-regularly or you turn to it to aid with your back pain, know that there are much better treatment options available to you. To learn more about these options, or to talk to a spine specialist who can work to diagnose and treat your back pain, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi and the team at The Midwest Spine & Brain Institute today at (651) 430-3800.

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