Ethanol, the active ingredient in all alcoholic beverages, causes a state of drunkenness and results in intoxication. And we all know excessive drinking causes many problems and can even result in death if a person is not careful. So, it is advised to always drink in moderation. With so many negatives, we can only imagine that some people might suffer from conditions otherwise unheard of, such as neck or shoulder pain. It is rare but does happen, and many can’t seem to decipher why this pain occurs. Some might point to Hodgkin’s Lymphoma which is a type of cancer affecting the body’s lymphatic system, resulting in swollen lymph nodes. But in most cases, the pain might just be due to milder reasons, such as:
Alcohol is a diuretic that causes the body to dehydrate. It does this by suppressing the release of Antidiuretic Hormone or ADH, which results in the body not being able to retain water, losing most of it in urine. Lack of water stiffens the neck, which can result in neck pain. The stiffness occurs because our necks contain disks made from a soft, gel-like, and cushiony material. Without water, these “cushions” begin to stiffen, causing stiffness, soreness, and, ultimately pain.
2. Sleeping position
A fun night out with friends is good and all, but what we forget to do afterward is take care of how we sleep. Bad or uncomfortable sleeping postures result in muscle aches and pain in the neck, back, head, or joints. The worst part is that once passed out, we are unlikely to wake up in the middle of the night to correct our posture, resulting in us sleeping that way for a continuous 8 or more hours.
3. Alcohol Myopathy
Alcoholic myopathy is a medical condition that affects muscles, making them weak, tender, painful, and swollen after a person binge drinks alcohol. While the condition doesn’t affect everyone, the symptoms are pretty scary and can take a toll on a person’s life. With acute alcohol myopathy, the muscles start to break down and release their fiber content in the blood. Muscle cramping, weakness, twitching, and wastage can all lead to pain, not just in the neck but other parts of the body also. Alcoholic myopathy symptoms begin improving once you stop drinking alcohol. But this should be complete abstinence, as once you start drinking again, the condition can come back.
A study conducted showed that as much as 85% of the patients who had alcohol myopathy began showing significant improvement in their muscles in just a year after they stopped drinking alcohol, and their muscle strength returned to a completely normal state within 5 years of complete abstinence. Patients who were unable to abstain from alcohol but reduced their consumption also showed improvement. Acute alcohol myopathy improves in a few days or weeks after alcohol consumption is stopped, whereas chronic alcohol myopathy usually takes longer, around 2 to 12 months, to get resolved.
Consider visiting the doctor
While your neck pain might not stem from a serious medical condition, it is always a good idea to rule out potential health issues that could be causing this pain, triggered, of course, by alcohol. This can be done by scheduling an appointment with a doctor so that they can conduct the relevant tests. It is always better to be safe than sorry, and if you do have a serious medical condition, then an early diagnosis can help quicken recovery.
Relieving your neck pain
There are a few simple strategies that can help you relieve your neck pain. You can do these at home or visit a specialist to help you. They are effective, especially if done continuously over the long term.
Physiotherapy is a great way to improve muscle pain and regain movement that has otherwise been compromised due to any reason. Physiotherapists massage your soft tissue, advise you on the best posture to adopt, especially while walking, sitting, and sleeping, help mobilize your joints, and recommend lifestyle changes that will significantly improve your neck pain.
Massages can be performed by professionals at salons and spas, and you can specify to them where the pain is so that they especially target the problem area. A good massage reduces cramps, improves blood flow, and gives you more mobility. In addition, massages help people feel relaxed and stress-free. This psychological impact further aids in muscular improvement.
Alcohol is a dehydrator, so perhaps the best way to reduce your neck pain is to drink plenty of water after a drinking session. It is important that you never go to bed without drinking water because your resulting neck pain and even hangover will be much worse. But more importantly, after every drink, you should drink a glass of water so that your body remains hydrated.
4. Neck stretches
Proper neck stretches help to enhance mobility and flexibility, thus reducing stiffness and tension. With a mobile neck, you will lead a healthier life and carry out your daily activities without discomfort. If you don’t know which exercises to adopt, you can consider seeing a trainer.
5. Correcting your posture
Knowing what posture to adopt while you are sitting, standing, or sleeping is a great way to avoid aches and pain. Your musculoskeletal system is sensitive in this regard, and one bad night’s sleep or not sitting straight for too long can cause a lot of pain.
6. Exercise and increased physical activity
This is a no-brainer. Long periods of staying idle or sitting will weaken your muscles in the long run. Regular physical activity not only improves muscle mass but helps you keep fit and active. You can thus go about your day without feeling drained or lethargic. There are a lot of exercises you can do; some can be high-intensity, such as brisk walking, hiking, cycling, rope jumping, and cardio, while others can be milder such as yoga.
I am a passionate beer connoisseur with a deep appreciation for the art and science of brewing. With years of experience tasting and evaluating various beers, I love to share my opinions and insights with others and I am always eager to engage in lively discussions about my favorite beverage.