Is alcohol a good muscle relaxer for back pain?
Some of the worst symptoms for chronic back pain sufferers are muscle spasms and cramping due to increased tension in the muscles surrounding the spine. In severe cases, doctors will often prescribe a muscle relaxer to relieve painful episodes and help promote restful sleep.
Since alcohol is a substance that can act as a natural muscle relaxer, some people dealing with painful spasms may try drinking in the hopes of easing these and other symptoms. While it may offer some temporary relief, it’s important to know the facts — including the significant drawbacks — about how alcohol affects the muscles.
How alcohol relaxes muscles
Alcohol works as a muscle relaxant by slowing down communication between the central nervous system and the rest of the body. This is why one or two drinks can help you feel relaxed, but too many can seriously impair your basic motor functions.
While a couple of drinks may convince you that your pain, spasms and cramps have improved, the way alcohol works on your body can leave you feeling worse the next day.
Why you should avoid alcohol for neck or back pain relief
Alcohol dehydrates you and is an inflammatory agent — two factors that can contribute to aches, pains and spasms. Long-term overconsumption of alcohol contributes to a long list of health problems, including heart disease, obesity and cancer. Alcohol can also add to the longer-term decline of spinal health by drying out the discs and joints.
Because of the many downsides supported by the results of a recent study, many doctors are currently recommending that no amount of alcohol is associated with a healthy lifestyle and increased longevity. However, if you’re looking to relieve muscle spasms, cramping and tension, there are many natural muscle relaxers for back pain relief.
Natural alternatives to help you relax
- Green tea. Among the many benefits of this super drink is the calming and relaxing effect it can have on the nervous system due to the amino acid L-theanine.
- Massage. A therapeutic massage can relieve muscle tension and painful spasms.
- Meditation. Did you know that deep breathing and improved body awareness can help you relax? These are both key components of mindfulness meditation practice.
- Heat therapy. Using a heating pad or taking a hot shower is one of the easiest ways to relax your muscles and relieve neck or back pain.
A balanced approach to back pain relief
The natural muscle relaxers mentioned above can be combined with physical therapy, over-the-counter medication, weight management, regular exercise and an anti-inflammatory diet to create a holistic spine care plan with your doctor. However, if you find your pain and other symptoms are seriously interfering with your life, contact the caring team at Laser Spine Institute.
We can help you learn more about your treatment options and provide a free review of your MRI* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.