Green Street IPA - Four Mile Brewing. Photo by Drew Vics

Beer Relieves Pain Better than Tylenol

Does it? I guess that depends on the type of pain.

There are some articles popping up online touting the claim that beer is a better pain reliever than Tylenol, and citing a recent study published in the Journal of Pain.

Beer Sample - Photo by Drew Vics, Cryptobrewology.comThankfully moderate beer consumption does have some benefits, including scientific studies that show an “inverse association between moderate drinking and risk of heart attack” as well as other possible benefits in drinking a couple of beers or a glass or two of wine a day.

The abstract of the study states, “Despite the long-standing belief in the analgesic properties of alcohol, experimental studies have produced mixed results.” And, “findings suggest that alcohol is an effective analgesic that delivers clinically-relevant reductions in ratings of pain intensity.”

The fact is that one or two beers won’t really make a difference, unless they happen to be particularly strong.

A sore back or general aches and pains may be relieved by alcohol consumption, but alcohol can exacerbate some other conditions. Headaches resulting from tension can actually be made worse by consuming alcohol. Alcohol may also trigger migraine headaches, which are often confused with tension headaches.

Unfortunately people can develop a dependency on alcohol which can lead to a host of other conditions and disorders, physical and mental, that can have devastating long term effects.

They are clear in the study to indicate that the analgesic qualities of alcohol are not necessarily a good thing. The level of booze required for pain relief exceeds the World Health Organization guidelines for low-risk consumption, so the potential for alcohol to relieve pain can ultimately lead to alcohol abuse.

The abstract concludes that “Strongest analgesia occurs for alcohol levels exceeding World Health Organization guidelines for low-risk drinking and suggests raising awareness of alternative, less harmful pain interventions to vulnerable patients may be beneficial.”

It may not be the best idea to regularly sub alcohol for an ibuprofen or other pain reliever, and certainly combining too many pain meds with too many beers is not a good idea either. Addiction to pain meds can be as common and equally as devastating as alcoholism, so if you suffer from chronic pain it might be a good idea to have a serious talk with your doctor about options to manage and reduce that pain.