Unveiling the Link Between Chronic Alcohol Consumption and Neuropathic Pain

Man suffering from pain

Some 29 million Americans struggle with alcohol use disorder. Excessive and chronic use of alcohol can lead to a wide range of health problems.

One recent study[i] titled “Chronic alcohol-induced mechanical allodynia by promoting neuroinflammation: A mouse model of alcohol-evoked neuropathic pain” explores the relationship between chronic alcohol consumption and the development of neuropathic pain.

Neuropathic pain is a debilitating condition characterized by persistent pain resulting from damage or dysfunction of the nervous system. Chronic alcohol consumption has long been associated with neuropathic pain, but the specific mechanisms behind this association have remained unclear. This study sought to uncover some of those mechanisms.

Utilizing a mouse model, researchers sought to examine the effects of chronic alcohol exposure on the development of mechanical allodynia, a condition characterized by heightened pain sensitivity to non-painful stimuli. The team found that mice consuming alcohol over a long period developed significant mechanical allodynia compared to control groups.

The researchers looked for underlying mechanisms driving this alcohol-induced neuropathic pain. They found that chronic alcohol consumption triggered neuroinflammation in the central nervous system, specifically in regions associated with pain processing.

Neuroinflammation involves the activation of inflammatory processes in the nervous system, often as a response to injury or chronic exposure to harmful substances.

The study’s findings have significant implications for both researchers and healthcare professionals.

By identifying neuroinflammation as a critical piece in alcohol-induced neuropathic pain, researchers can now focus on developing targeted therapies that address underlying inflammation.

For healthcare professionals, this study emphasizes the importance of recognizing and addressing alcohol abuse in patients presenting with chronic pain symptoms. Identifying and addressing the root cause of neuropathic pain is essential for effective management and improving the patient’s quality of life.

It is important to note that this study was conducted on mice, and further research is necessary to validate these findings in human subjects.

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol and need help in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky, or Indiana, the recovery teams at Aware Recovery Care are here to help. And we come to you, regardless of where you live. Our unique in-home treatment model of care gives clients a significantly better chance of recovery than traditional inpatient rehab care. Please get in touch with one of our Recovery Specialists to learn more.

[i] https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bph.16091