Can Alcohol Use Lead To Joint Pain?

Lots of people are familiar with the risks of drinking alcohol. For example, even moderate drinking, even the occasional glass of wine, could lead to serious problems; however, there are different ways that alcohol abuse could lead to joint pain as well.

Alcohol Makes It Harder To Take Care of Yourself

If you drink too much alcohol, it could make it harder for you to take care of yourself. If you don’t do a good job taking care of your body, you increase your chances of developing joint pain. Some of the reasons why alcohol might make it hard for you to care for yourself appropriately include:

  • Alcohol is dehydrating. If you drink too much alcohol, you could get dehydrated. Proper hydration is important for lubricating your joints, which can prevent joint pain from happening.
  • Alcohol can also cause you to eat poorly. For example, when you drink too much alcohol, you are also prone to eating more junk food. Junk food can contribute to inflammation, leading to joint pain.
  • When you drink alcohol, you are more likely to miss a dose of one of your medications. For example, if you have medicine you need to take because of arthritis, you are more likely to miss a dose if you are drinking. This could make your joint pain worse.
  • Alcohol can also make it harder for you to sleep well at night. Even though alcohol can make you tired at that moment, it also makes it harder for you to stay asleep once you go to bed. If you don’t get the necessary amount of sleep, your body does not repair itself properly, and your joint pain could get worse.

You must make sure you take good care of yourself if you want to reduce your chances of suffering joint pain. That means you should refrain from drinking too much and ask for help if you feel like you need it. 

Does Alcohol Impact Inflammation?

There are some research studies that indicate small amounts of alcohol may be able to reduce some markers of inflammation temporarily; however, medical experts agree that the risks of drinking alcohol far outweigh the benefits. What this means is that any benefit gained by drinking moderately will be outweighed by many of the complications listed above.

The reality is that if you drink regularly, you are prone to making bad decisions. Essentially, you run the risk of replacing one disease with another. The risk of alcoholism is significant, even from moderate amounts of alcohol, and there are many people who struggle to control their drinking every day. Instead, it is better to address joint pain by making lifestyle changes.

Do Not Self-Medicate Joint Pain With Alcohol

One of the biggest problems with alcohol is that people use it to self-medicate. Some people turn to alcohol to deal with physical and mental issues, but this is incredibly dangerous. Regardless of how debilitating your joint pain might be, you should not use alcohol as a way to deal with it.

While alcohol might ease joint pain for a few minutes, it will make joint pain worse in the long run. People who start drinking to self-medicate are prone to drinking excessively, which can lead to many of the issues listed above. That is why people need to reach out and ask for help if they are suffering from joint pain. People who cannot control their drinking should also ask for help from a treatment professional. 

Aggravate An Existing Joint Condition

There are some people who may already have a condition that leads to joint pain. For example, someone who has been diagnosed with obesity has one of the biggest risk factors for the development of arthritis. There are different types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and inflammatory arthritis.

Because the inflammatory effects of alcohol can be significant, joint pain could get worse. Some of the other medical conditions that could lead to joint pain include:

  • Celiac disease
  • Lupus
  • Gout
  • Fibromyalgia 

If you have been diagnosed with gout, you should refrain from alcohol use. This includes wine, beer, and liquor. Alcohol can increase your chances of dealing with a gout attack. For example, drinking moderate amounts of alcohol, particularly beer (which has purines), can increase your levels of uric acid. Uric acid crystals cause joint pain in individuals who have been diagnosed with gout.

There are lots of people who take medications to manage these conditions, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen), but it is critical for people to talk with their doctor ahead of time to see how alcohol could interact with these medications, such as methotrexate. For example, prescription or over-the-counter medications, combined with alcohol, could be enough to overwhelm the liver and lead to liver damage. This could lead to other complications.

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Weaken the Immune System

Alcohol can also weaken the immune system. A lot of people associate the immune system with viral and bacterial infections. It is true that your immune system plays an important role in fighting infections. Therefore, if you drink too much alcohol, you could weaken your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to developing an infection. There are some infections that could target the joints, leading to joint pain.

At the same time, the immune system is also responsible for repairing your body after you have suffered an injury. For example, you might be diagnosed with a ligament sprain or a muscle strain that leads to joint pain. If you drink too much alcohol, your immune system might not repair this injury as quickly. As a result, your joint pain could last longer.

Increased Chance of Suffering an Injury

Sometimes, people develop joint pain simply because they fall and hurt themselves. If you drink too much, your balance and coordination can be impaired. You may have a difficult time remaining upright as you walk from place to place, and you might not pay close attention to your surroundings.

As a result, you may fall and suffer an injury, leading to joint pain. Some of the ways you can reduce your chances of suffering an injury include:

  • Make sure you control your drinking. You don’t want to increase the risk of falling and hurting yourself.
  • Make sure you have plenty of lights in your home. That way, you always see where you are going.
  • Put away items that could be trip hazards. For example, put your shoes on a shoe rack, and try to tuck the tassels under your area rugs.

If you follow these precautions, you can reduce your chances of falling and hurting yourself.

Seeking Help for Alcohol Use Disorder

Joint pain can have a major impact on your quality of life, particularly if you experience flare-ups. Excessive amounts of drinking could eventually contribute to bone tissue necrosis, making your joint pain worse, but it can also lead to alcoholism.

Excessive drinking could be a contributing factor to ulcers, liver disease, and heart disease, and that is why you or your loved one should seek addiction treatment. A trained professional can help you develop a comprehensive treatment plan, complete with therapy and possible medications, to help you handle cravings and abstain from drinking in the future. This can make a significant difference in your quality of life.

The negative effects of alcohol are significant, and they could include joint pain, but we are here to help you. At Riverside Recovery, we provide you and your loved ones with access to cutting-edge treatment options for substance abuse and addiction issues. We have a tremendous amount of experience helping people who have been diagnosed with alcohol use disorder, and we can help you as well. Contact us today to speak to a member of our team.