Some Alcohol Consumption Associated with Reduced Pain

Moderate Alcohol Consumption Is Associated with Reduced Pain and Fibromyalgia Symptoms in Chronic Pain Patients | Pain Medicine | Oxford Academic – Dec 2018

Just in time for the weekend, yet another study showing that casual moderate drinking seems to be indicative of a lifestyle that reduces pain and its impact on quality of life.

I suspect it’s not the alcohol itself, but rather a more relaxed approach to life that causes the association (not cause) with less pain.

Objective

Moderate alcohol consumption has been associated with improved health outcomes including reduced risk of heart disease; however, less is known regarding alcohol’s effects on chronic pain.

The aim of this study was to assess associations between pain, fibromyalgia symptoms, and moderate alcohol use in a large chronic pain sample.  

Methods

A total of 2,583 new chronic pain patients presenting at a university pain clinic reported alcohol use and completed validated measures;

  • 592 (23%) patients reported drinking,
  • with 502 (85%) classified as moderate drinkers (females ≤7 and males ≤14 drinks/wk).

General linear models (GLM) assessed the effects of moderate drinking on pain and symptom outcomes. The sample was stratified by gender and fibromyalgia (FM) status in secondary analyses.

Results

Moderate alcohol users reported significantly lower

  • FM symptoms (widespread pain and symptom severity),
  • pain severity,
  • interference,
  • anxiety,
  • depression, and
  • catastrophizing, and
  • they reported higher physical function.

Similar findings were observed in gender-stratified analysis, minus associations with FM symptom severity in females and anxiety in males.

In patients meeting FM criteria, moderate drinking was associated with lower pain severity, interference, and depression, and higher physical function. Results in non-FM patients were similar to the total sample.

Conclusions

Moderate alcohol consumption in chronic pain patients was associated with

  • decreased pain severity and interference,
  • fewer painful body areas,
  • lower somatic and mood symptoms, and
  • increased physical function.

A similar effect was observed in non-FM patients, but to a lesser extent in FM patients, suggesting chronic pain patients with less centralized forms of pain may benefit most from moderate alcohol consumption.

Other thoughts?

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