Researchers claim that beer is a more effective painkiller than paracetamol
It’s important to note at the outset that we in no way recommend or condone the use of alcohol as a replacement for medication, particularly prescription medication.
Remember that alcohol, even in small amounts, can have a major impact on your cognitive abilities and co-ordination.
Nonetheless people have been using alcohol to self-medicate for centuries.
In the days before analgesics, it was often the only way to reduce pain from illness or injury and was even used during surgery.
In the modern era we have come to rely on small doses of very powerful compounds like paracetamol to reduce pain and ibuprofen for inflammation.
These are often combined in branded pain relief products with even more powerful opiates such as codeine.
Opioid addiction has become a massive problem in the US in recent years.
Now a team from the University of Greenwich are suggesting alcohol might offer a better pain management alternative.
They found that two pints of beer can cut pain by 25%
The researchers, who also urged people to drink responsibly, said: “Findings suggest that alcohol is an effective analgesic that delivers clinically-relevant reductions in ratings of pain intensity, which could explain alcohol misuse in those with persistent pain despite its potential consequences for long-term health.”
Dr Trevor Thompson, who led the study, said: “Alcohol can be compared to opioid drugs such as codeine and the effect is more powerful than paracetamol”.
The team also found that the more people drank, the more their pain threshold increased.
According to government guidelines, men and women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week.
The research used 18 studies, involving 202 participants
The experts are trying to find out if alcohol lowers pain, which reduces discomfort or if it numbs the sensation of pain by affecting brain receptors.
The hope is that they can use the data to produce an alcohol-based alternative which is safer to use.
“If we can make a drug without the harmful side-effects then we could have something that is potentially better than what is out there at the moment.
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