If you suffer from chronic pain, you know the drill. Pop a pill, avoid the booze, and grimace and bear it.
The trouble is, for many folks, this is just a prescription for MORE misery.
Either it does very little to ease the pain. Or you build a tolerance that requires you to take even more of the drugs to get any relief.
Plus, there’s a genuine danger that you become so dependent on the pills you can’t live without them.
But a team of researchers working on chronic pain at the University of Michigan just stumbled onto something that had everyone scratching their heads.
It turns out conventional medicine’s standard approach to chronic pain could be 100 percent wrong. In fact, laying off the pills and indulging in a drink could be the key to managing your pain.
Now to be clear, no one is suggesting teetotalers take up a new booze habit.
But if you’re someone who already enjoys a glass of wine with dinner or a beer at the end of the day, there could be some big benefits.
Moderate drinking linked to major pain relief
New research out of the University of Michigan revealed that alcohol could be the chronic pain killer you’ve been looking for.
But don’t crack open that bottle yet. In this case, the DETAILS matter.
The team tracked more than 2,500 volunteers who were struggling with chronic pain. And before long they spotted an unexpected pattern.
Among the 23 percent of folks who drank alcohol, the “moderate” drinkers experienced significant pain relief.
They had lower pain levels and reported a better overall quality of life that those who drank MORE or LESS.
Reduce chronic pain and boost function
So what does moderate mean?
Well, for the ladies it’s no more than one drink a night. And guys, it’s no more than two for you.
Folks who stuck to that pattern had less pain and were happier and healthier overall than those who drank more OR less.
Across the board moderate drinkers reported…
- less widespread pain
- a reduction in severe pain
- less pain interference in daily life
- lower levels of anxiety and depression
- fewer feelings of hopelessness
And JUST as exciting, the moderate drinkers were able to move around easier.
In other words, folks with chronic pain who downed an occasional drink had BETTER physical function than their peers who didn’t indulge and those who drank more.
Alcohol boosts calming GABA
Here’s what we think is happening…
Alcohol triggers your brain to produce more of the neurotransmitter GABA. And GABA’s primary role is to block impulses between nerve cells in your brain.
The neurotransmitter makes us feel relaxed and calm. Plus, it naturally lowers stress and anxiety levels.
And now scientists believe it also helps calm chronic pain too.
Boost GABA levels naturally
Not a drinker? No problem. Alcohol isn’t your only option.
Supplements which may help raise your GABA levels, or enhance the neurotransmitter’s function include…
- magnolia bark
- lemon balm
Certain foods may help boost your GABA levels as well, including oolong tea, green tea, cherry tomatoes, kefir, lentils, walnuts, and shrimp.
And studies show exercise, meditation, and yoga all can boost your levels of the pain-soothing neurotransmitter too.
If you’re battling chronic pain and your pain pills just aren’t cutting it consider raising a glass or trying a GABA-boosting supplement instead.