How Alcohol Drinking Affects Joint Health?

The Effects of Alcohol Drinking to Joint Pains
Janice CarsonJanice Carson

We often attribute joint pains as one of the signs of aging, a phase when we lose the natural lubrication of our joints making it stiff and painful. The natural process of aging, our weight, and the day-to-day activities can take a toll on our joints. It’s a no-brainer that painful joints mean something’s wrong. However, there are factors often overlooked that might be contributing to our joint pains. For instance, did you know that heavy drinking can trigger joint pain?.

The Effects of Alcohol Drinking to Joint Pains

While heavy drinking is often associated with automobile accidents, cirrhosis, liver and kidney problems, it can also be detrimental to our joint health.

How Alcohol Drinking Affects Joint Health

Studies found that there are effects of alcohol drinking to joint pains, such as:

  • Development or worsening of gout.
  • Arthritis.
  • Obesit.

Gout is the condition when there’s a buildup of uric acid. This condition often causes inflammation and pain to the joints. A 2004 study suggests that heavy alcohol drinking can lead to or worsen the condition of gout. Alcohol is believed to increase purine levels, the compound that stimulates and intensifies the production of uric acids. Alcohol also inhibits the kidneys from excreting uric acids that leads to their accumulation in the body. The more uric acids there are in the body, the more joint pains one will experience.

It is also not good to combine alcohol drinking with the medications you take for arthritis. Joint pains are more prevalent if you have arthritis and you could be taking painkillers to address them. However, drinking alcohol will not only worsens your condition, it can also cause more serious complication such as intestinal bleeding, ulcer and a dangerous level of toxicity that may damage your liver and kidneys.

Another condition that relates heavy alcohol drinking to joint pains is obesity. A study conducted by the University of Washington found that binge drinkers from age 13 all throughout their adolescence and adulthood have higher chances of becoming obese.

According to the research leader, Sabrina Oesterle, young adults who do not engage in binge drinking or rarely drinks are found to be healthier and are more conscious of their behaviors. Non-binge drinkers tend to be able to maintain a healthier body weight, preventing them from developing joint conditions such as arthritis. When the body is too heavy for the joints to carry, the joints can become weak, degraded and as a result, they lose their natural strength.


Occasional and social drinking is acceptable, but when it’s too much, our body pays the price.
The effects of alcohol drinking to joint pains are not only bothersome and crippling; they can also lead to more serious conditions. Change of lifestyle and moderation are needed in order to prevent these conditions and live a pain-free life.