How Alcohol Affects Degenerative Disc Disease

Many people wonder if their alcohol consumption could be worsening their back pain. Of course, if you live with back pain, you will likely want to do anything you can to minimize the likelihood of your pain worsening. If you believe that alcohol consumption may be causing your back pain to worsen, continue reading to learn more about the effect that alcohol may have on your back pain.

What Causes Degenerative Disc Disease?

In order to understand how alcohol can have an effect on back pain caused by disc degeneration, it’s important to understand how degenerative disc disease is caused. 

We’ll start with the basics, which are that your spinal discs are made up of two parts: the annulus fibrosus, which is the outer layer of the disc, and the nucleus pulposus, the inner portion of the disc. The annulus fibrosus is meant to keep the nucleus pulposus contained, but if annular tears begin to build up in this portion of the disc, the nucleus pulposus may leak out.

This leaking causes inflammation and irritation of the surrounding nerves as well as dehydration of the spinal, which leads to pain and other symptoms associated with disc degeneration. 

It’s also important to note that spinal discs are unable to heal themselves when they develop tears because the spinal discs have so little blood flow to them.

How Does Alcohol Affect Degenerative Disc Disease?

Various studies examining how alcohol can affect pain caused by degenerative disc disease have shown that it can increase pain. 

One study1 found that the connection between the consumption of alcohol and back pain appears to be curvilinear. This study fount that while moderate alcohol use could be linked to a greater quality of life, excessive alcohol consumption was associated with increased severity of pain. Evidence was also found that alcohol inhibits pain, which may cause those suffering from back pain to consume alcohol in order to cope with their pain. 

A second study2 found that, again, moderate alcohol consumption can have a positive effect on back pain caused by degenerative disc disease. Studies have even shown that modest alcohol consumption tends to keep arteries smooth.  In addition to this, there is strong evidence indicating that moderate alcohol consumption can also help reduce inflammation. We know that degenerative disc disease pain is generally caused by inflammation of nerves surrounding the affected spinal disc, so inflammation reduction would aid in reducing degenerative disc disease pain. The results of this study hypothesized that moderate alcohol consumption could potentially reduce one’s risk for degenerative disc disease.

The results of these studies show that one shouldn’t be worried about the effect of their alcohol consumption on their back pain unless this consumption is excessive. Other than that, it seems to have an almost positive effect on degenerative disc disease pain.

The Discseel® Procedure

While studies have shown that alcohol can have a positive effect on back pain caused by degenerative disc disease, it cannot solve this condition or provide lasting healing. 

It’s important to find a treatment that is able to address annular tears, sealing them to prevent further leaking and allowing the tears to heal so that you can find lasting relief. The Discseel® Procedure is a treatment known to be able to do both these things. Using a natural fibrin biologic known to encourage healing tissue growth in other parts of the body, the Discseel® Procedure allows spinal disc tissue to grow and heal itself.

If you’re ready to get lasting relief from your back or neck pain through a non-surgical, minimally invasive treatment that won’t limit your mobility, apply for the Discseel® Procedure today and find out if you’re a candidate for this life-changing procedure. 

  1. Zale, E. L., Maisto, S. A., & Ditre, J. W. (2015, February 25). Interrelations between pain and alcohol: An integrative review. Retrieved August 10, 2020, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25766100/ 
  2. Zhang, N., Yin, Y., Chen, W., & Xu, S. (2008, July 15). Moderate alcohol consumption may decrease risk of intervertebral disc degeneration. Retrieved August 10, 2020, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18632213/

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