Menu Close

Alcohol and Pain Management

woman discusses alcohol and pain management with physician

Alcohol has long been used for pain relief in emergency medical situations where other methods were not available.  Today, many people who suffer from chronic pain turn to alcohol to self-medicate. While alcohol does provide a numbing and sedative effect, the risks of regular alcohol consumption far outweigh the benefits of temporary relief.  There are many potentially dangerous consequences to using alcohol to manage your pain, and the inevitable result of excessive alcohol use is addiction. The last thing anyone with chronic pain needs is the added stress and health issues associated with substance abuse.   Most people who suffer from chronic pain are prescribed painkillers, but many continue to use alcohol on top of their recommended medication.  Unfortunately, alcohol use does not mix well with most prescription pain relievers, and even some over-the-counter drugs. For example, alcohol mixed with acetaminophen, a common drug in many pain medications, can cause liver failure, while alcohol combined with aspirin can lead to internal bleeding.  When consumed along with prescription opiates, alcohol can amplify the intoxicating effects of these powerful drugs, increasing the likelihood of opiate addiction and overdose. In addition to the risk factors associated with combining alcohol and medication, alcohol alone can lead to more severe pain.  Alcohol decreases circulation, and therefore tends to worsen back and neck pain, as well as pain that is caused by an injury to one of your extremities.  Excessive alcohol use can also lead to neuropathy, a condition that often causes excruciating pain in the feet, making it difficult to walk or wear shoes.  The most serious risk associated with alcohol use for pain management is arguably the risk of addiction, because developing this complication means you will be unable to stop using alcohol on your own.  If you believe you may have an addiction to alcohol as a result of attempting to alleviate chronic pain, now is the time to seek help. There are other pathways to pain relief and healing that don’t result in a lifetime of battling substance abuse.

At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  The Arbor uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 844-413-2690.