Connecting the Dots: Alcohol & Back Pain

Connecting the Dots: Alcohol & Back Pain

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Whether or not drinking alcohol has any effect on chronic pain has long been studied. Research has shown that in certain cases, the beverage can act as an effective painkiller and provide immense relief.

However, the matter is more complex than it appears. For one, it only works well if taken in moderation. People who are heavy drinkers aren’t likely to benefit from alcohol for their back pain.

In addition to that, excessive alcohol consumption also creates health complications which can either aggravate the back pain or result in the onset of other ailments.

Using Alcohol for Pain Management

According to surveys, up to 29% of the Canadian population experiences chronic pain of some sort. From this, chronic pain in the lower back is one of the most common contributors to the condition. Research has also shown that a significant chunk of this population uses alcohol to manage or curb their pain.

While often effective in short-term cases, this usually results in some serious problems.

Sure, drinking alcohol may help you relax and distract yourself from the intensity of the pain. By lowering stress levels, it can even prevent you from experiencing back pain as intensely as you did before. However, individuals who get in the habit of “drinking away their pain” soon realise that the effects of excessive alcohol intake go beyond the pain-killing properties. The more you drink, the more you start relying on alcohol for your pain. This increases your body’s tolerance and dependence levels, and can lead to substance abuse.

It also makes it more difficult for you to stop drinking alcohol as your body would now have developed increased sensitivity to pain. If you withdraw suddenly, you’re likely to experience back pain even more severely than you did before among other withdrawal symptoms. Thus, drinking alcohol for alleviating back pain creates even bigger complications and compromises your long-term health.

Using Alcohol with Medication

Alcohol and pain medication doesn’t mix well. If you’re using over-the-counter pills for your back pain, drinking simultaneously isn’t a good idea. It can also be especially dangerous to continue drinking alcohol if you’re taking medication for a different condition such as heart or lung disease

In addition to that, alcohol also interferes with the body’s natural healing response and slows down the process. It can undo the effects of medication and completely mess up your sleeping patterns. This makes it even more unadvisable for use for treating back pain.

Our advice? Consult the staff at our primary pain management clinic in Calgary for your chronic back pain. We offer chiropractic treatment, physiotherapy, shockwave therapy, and massage therapy to treat the condition.

Give us a call at 403 253 7230 to make an appointment.


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I have been suffering with Plantar Fasciitis in both of my feet for over a year now and the pain was just too unbearable to deal with. I did all the recommended stretching, icing and other treatments that just didn’t help. So, I said enough is enough as I deserve to feel better than this and made the appointment at Divergent Health Care.


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