Time and again, doctors advise everyone to lower alcohol consumption as it is not good for the body. There are instances though when this can be hard to do, especially for those who have made alcohol a part of their daily routine. New research suggests, however, that by reducing alcohol, chronic pain in later years is also reduced, particularly among veterans.
A report published in Alcoholism, ‘Does Reducing Drinking in Patients with Unhealthy Alcohol Use Improve Pain Interference, Use of Other Substances, and Psychiatric Symptoms?’ found that veterans who reduce alcohol intake were said to suffer from a lesser amount of chronic pain as compared to those who indulge in heavy drinking.
Researchers from the NYU School of Medicine in New York City studied about 1,500 veterans who completed a survey between 2003 and 2015, who stated that they are heavy drinkers in one of the surveys conducted.
Dr Ellen Caniglia, the lead researcher, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Population Health stated they found some evidence that showed there was an improvement in pain interference symptoms, as well as in substance use after the veteran participants reduced drinking.
The researchers noted that at the start of the study, many veterans experienced similar conditions. Almost half of the participants revealed suffering from moderate to severe pain. A third of them said that they used marijuana within the year prior to answering the survey. More than two-thirds of them revealed smoking and that one-third made use of cocaine. Those who revealed suffering from depression were likewise one-third and more than half revealed anxiety.
The researchers then checked the following year whether those who reported heavy drinking also reduced the amount of alcohol that they consume. Researchers found that 37 percent of participants did not reduce the amount of alcohol they drank and only 31 percent did. They then compared the group who reduced alcohol intake the year after and the group who did not.
Comparing the two groups, the researchers noted that the group who reduced their alcohol intake showed better chances of improving symptoms of chronic pain. They also noticed that they had a better chance of quitting smoking, the use of cocaine or cannabis.
While reduced alcohol intake improved chronic pain, the same could not be said when it comes to anxiety and depression.