Like most health-related topics, whether or not drinking alcohol causes or exacerbates lower back pain will vary from person to person. While there’s not a clear answer on whether or not alcohol is related to lower back pain, there are a couple of general principles that will apply to most people. For one, moderate drinking is unlikely to cause or worsen a person’s back pain while heavy drinking or drinking while on other medications can be dangerous. Here is some important information to know about the relationship between alcohol and lower back pain.
What to Know About Lower Back Pain and Drinking
There’s a general consensus that moderate drinking has little to no effect on back pain. However, this being said, many people are unaware of the medical definition of moderate drinking and instead draw their own conclusion on what constitutes drinking in moderation. Alternatively, some experts and researchers have found that alcohol abuse causes an increased level of inflammation throughout the body and can be associated with chronic back pain. Additionally, if someone is taking medication for their back pain, they should generally avoid mixing their medication with alcohol in excessive amounts. Typically, it is safe to moderately drink while on medication. However, every person is unique, and it’s essential to talk with your doctor about what’s best for you.
What Is Considered Moderate Drinking?
In accordance with medical standards, moderate drinking is defined as one standard drink a day for women and 2 drinks a day for men. A standard drink is any alcoholic beverage that contains on average, 0.6 fluid ounces of alcohol content. Different alcoholic beverages vary in their alcohol percentages. For example, beer, wine, and hard liquors all contain varying amounts of alcohol. This means that what constitutes a standard drink will depend on the kind and amount of alcohol you are consuming.
In general, medical professionals agree that moderate drinking is a healthy means of consuming alcohol. However, every person is unique and some people should avoid drinking alcoholic beverages.
What to Know About Mixing Medications with Alcohol
Mixing medications with alcohol can have serious implications. This applies to seemingly harmless over-the-counter drugs, such as ibuprofen along with various other kinds of medications. Some potential reactions that can occur when alcohol is mixed with some medications include:
- When mixed with acetaminophen—such as Tylenol—drinking can cause acute liver failure
- When mixed with aspirin, drinking can increase the risk of gastric bleeding
- When mixed with opiates, drinking can increase the sedative and analgesic effects of opiates, increasing the risk of an overdose
No matter what kind of medication you are taking, it’s essential to understand how alcohol interacts with the drug and any potential risks or side effects. Talking with your doctor and pharmacist is the best way to understand how your medications and whether drinking alcohol is safe for you.
Consult a Skilled Spine Specialist to Understand if Alcohol Is Affecting Your Back Pain
Back pain can be caused by a variety of factors and certain activities, foods, or motions can exacerbate your pain. Every person’s experience with back pain is unique and the only way to determine the factors at play in causing your pain is to consult a skilled spine specialist. If you are wondering whether alcohol consumption is safe for you or contributing to your back pain, you should schedule an appointment with a skilled spine doctor.
At NJ Spine and Orthopedic, you will receive expert medical care and diagnosis. At NJSO, we pride ourselves on our ability to orchestrate personalized care plans that serve the unique needs of our patients. Our skilled doctors will identify the cause of your pain and advise you on the best course of treatment. To schedule an appointment with one of our skilled spine experts, call (866) 272 9271 or fill out our online contact form.