Alcohol and Back Pain – Can One Drink Make it Worse?


There is no question, that in moderation, certain types of alcohol can actually present some health benefits. For example, a glass of red wine on occasion can be great for your heart. However, how should you approach alcohol when you suffer from chronic back and neck pain? We have the answer for you.

As you well know, alcohol will decrease your inhibitions. The fact is that what you learned during driver’s education is true: any amount of alcohol consumption will affect the way you act, as well as the way that you think. Additionally, it relaxes your body, almost to an extreme extent. When you drink a little too much, you are likely not thinking as clearly as you would be otherwise, and any physical pain, including back pain, which you are experiencing, seems to fade away. This may incite the desire to act in crazy fashions, such as lifting or moving heavy furniture, which can cause significant damage and pain to your back.

Alcohol Relaxes the Muscles Too Much

There are many people who choose to consume alcohol to reduce their stress levels. The fact is that in theory it sounds great: a muscle relaxant to ease the aches and pains that are ailing your back. However, if you are suffering from back and neck pain, relaxing the muscles of your core is really not a great idea. This is because the muscles of your core work to support your spine. When you consume alcohol it makes it extremely difficult for your core muscles to provide the proper support for your spine.

Alcohol Acts as a Depressant

There is no question that alcohol affects your physiology and mood. It acts as a depressant which slows your body’s natural processes, such as breathing and circulation. Additionally, alcohol can influence your mood in adverse ways. In fact, if you continue to consume alcohol over an extended period of time it can cause you to fall into a deep depression which may actually inhibit your ability to recover from back or neck pain.

Alcohol Can Pack on the Pounds

There is no question that the more weight you have, the more pain you will have, as well. Not only do alcoholic beverages increase the number of empty calories that increase your weight, it also makes you eat more. With increased eating you will also find that you are consuming even more calories, even further adding to your problem with obesity. The more weight you put on, the more pressure that is put on your spine, which will substantially increase the back and neck pain that you experience.

Therefore, if you are experiencing back pain and think having a cold beer or glass of wine will help your mood, you should take time to consider the factors that may impact your pain. Unfortunately, your drink of choice won’t make your back pain go away.


Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice. 

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Image Credit: Wine by Prashob Kumar.  Used under a creative commons license. 

This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.