According to an article in The Star, though most Canadians drink—and an increasing number drink excessively—many people aren’t aware of the impact drinking can have on health. They found that as many as 70% of heavy drinkers don’t fully understand the health risks that alcohol can pose. Citing a government report, The Star notes that as many as 4.4 million Canadians drink too much, increasing their risk of long-term health problems.
Though most people are aware of the impact that alcohol can have on the liver, in truth drinking impacts many parts of the body. This secondary or latent damage is less obvious than liver problems, however, so people often go unaware of these risks. For example, while the link between smoking and many forms of cancer is obvious, few realize that alcohol abuse has been linked to increased risks of cancer of the liver, pancreas, breasts, mouth, throat, and colon, according to the US Center for Disease Control.
Excessive alcohol use is also associated with problems with the heart and brain due to poor circulation. Binge drinkers are at elevated risk for stroke, high blood pressure, and heart disease, all of which can have a ripple effect on other systems of the body. When your circulation is impeded, your heart will have a harder time getting oxygen spread evenly throughout your body, which can make it harder to recover from injury or surgery. If you have injured tissue in your body, for example, from a ruptured or bulging disc, it becomes much less likely that the damaged tissue will heal on its own.
Alcohol abuse can also be connected with behavioral problems. Alcohol is a depressant, which can exacerbate existing depression and anxiety. At the same time, people who drink excessively are more likely to take part in risky activities. It only takes a small fall or misstep to seriously injure your neck or back. When people drink to excess, balance and coordination become compromised, increasing the risk of injury.
Excessive drinking can also make it more difficult to deal with chronic pain. Though people may believe that alcohol helps them to dull or ignore their pain, drinking not only masks the pain issue, it also intensifies accompanying problems. Impeding circulation keeps your body from healing effectively, and heavy alcohol use worsens depression rather than alleviating it. Depression is often an issue for people suffering from chronic pain, not only because of their ever-present physical pain, but also because of the limitations that pain places on their activities and relationships.
There are organizations that provide treatment, counseling, and support for alcohol problems throughout the provinces and territories. If you’re in need of relief from chronic pain in your back, neck, or joints, consider looking outside of Canada to the Spine Institute Northwest. We’ve helped many Canadians get back to a life without chronic pain. Call 888-712-0318 to learn more.