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7 Common Reasons For Neck And Shoulder Pain After Drinking Alcohol

It is likely to have body pain if you’ve ever been too drunk or if you’re recovering from alcoholism. The question is, why do I have neck and shoulder pain after drinking alcohol?

Upper body pain after alcohol is likely to occur due to lymphoma or a fall (you may fall while drunk and hurt yourself). Moreover, other internal organ dysfunctions or muscle weakness may result in neck and pain.

Indeed, binge drinking or alcoholism is the cause of many mental and physical diseases. Alcoholic effect on the nervous system is either sedative or stimulant. It depends on the dose. Overconsumption of alcohol leads to side effects that vary from euphoria to coma. 

Let’s dig deeper into the facts!

Table of Content

Neck and Shoulder Pain After Drinking Alcohol

Pain in the neck and shoulder after drinking alcohol is a commonly reported condition. Indeed, stiff necks following a hangover party are more likely to result from your sleeping position or unconscious jerks. It results in the buildup of tension in the neck. 

Also, alcohol causes dehydration, which results in the loss of gelatinous material in the spinal discs. It results in less cushion and tightening of the spine. So it results in stiffness and pain. The same applies to a sore neck. 

Neck and Shoulder Pain After Drinking Alcohol

Moreover, reduced muscle mass due to alcoholic myopathy may result in neck and right shoulder pain when drinking alcohol. 

Muscle weakness may cause additional strain on the cervical spine, resulting in stiffness of the neck.

If you are experiencing discomfort in your neck after drinking, rehydrating and performing some light neck stretches may relieve your discomfort. Those who drink and suffer the worst pain in their necks should consult a doctor about their situation. 

Here are the fewest reasons why your neck and shoulder hurt when you drink alcohol.

Uncomfortable Sleeping Position Or Fall 

A person who drinks alcohol experiences fainting and dizziness because alcohol restricts blood flow to the brain. There is a greater risk of an accident or fall when you are in a faint state. Thus, pain in the upper body after a hangover is often associated with an unconscious fall.

Uncomfortable Sleeping Position Or Fall may cause shoulder pain after drinking alcohol

Moreover, you may not remember the fall, but it actually did happen. Most often, there is a minor injury that will heal on its own. However, mild painkillers (ibuprofen) and cold compressions can help in some cases. 

Alcoholic Myopathy—Pelvis and Shoulder Pain after Drinking Alcohol

Alcoholic myopathy is an unusual condition whereby your muscles lose strength and function due to heavy drinking. It is more likely to happen when you’re a binge drinker or sometimes after some shots. Alcoholic myopathy is the more common reason that can cause pelvis, collar bone, and shoulder pain. 

Alcoholic myopathy manifests itself as weakness, tenderness, pain, and swelling of the muscles. Due to the symptoms, men with this condition frequently experience difficulty walking, standing, or performing their daily tasks.

Alcoholic Myopathy—Pelvis and Shoulder Pain after Drinking Alcohol

The best treatment option for it is to stop drinking. Indeed, your symptoms will reverse within a few days or 2 weeks.

Electrolyte Imbalance

Alcohol is an antidiuretic drink. Drinking alcohol may cause dehydration in consumers. Thus, losing a lot of body fluids results in electrolyte imbalance. Depleting electrolytes such as magnesium, calcium, potassium can lead to cervical and appendages pain.

Electrolyte Imbalance is the side effect after drinking alcohol

Following are the symptoms of electrolyte imbalance due to alcohol:

  • Poor nutrition
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Rapid heartbeat

You can correct electrolyte imbalance with some dietary changes. Moreover, intravenous fluids and electrolytes replacement may help as well. Besides these, if you are an alcoholic, drink plenty of water to maintain your fluid retention.

Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcoholism is the uncontrolled urge to drink alcohol. Alcohol dependency or alcohol use disorder causes certain physical and mental health problems. It is not yet known what causes it. But, drinking too much alcohol causes chemical changes in your brain. Thus, you develop alcohol dependence. 

The chemical changes make you feel more pleasurable when you drink alcohol. You are tempted to drink more, even if it causes harm. Frequent neck and shoulder pain is associated with alcoholism. The more you drink, the more pain it will worsen. 

Besides shoulder and neck pain, you will experience inflammation and severe joint aches. 

Binge drinking causes shoulder and neck pain after drinking alcohol

The following are signs that you are dependent on alcohol:

  • Difficulty remaining conscious
  • Mental confusion
  • Seizures
  • Clammy skin

Your best treatment to cure alcoholism and induce pain is to stop the use of alcohol. No doubt, it’s challenging to stop the drinking habit, especially if you are addicted. But, family support and a rehabilitation center help a lot. Recovering from addiction is possible. 

Visit the American Addiction Center to stop drinking alcohol, and begin living again. 

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Though many reasons can explain neck and shoulder pain after drinking alcohol, Hodgkin lymphoma is sometimes blamed. It is a type of blood cancer that usually occurs in the lymph nodes. It is characterized by abnormal development of lymphocytes (WBC). They reproduce uncontrollably and crowd out healthy white blood cells in a malignant form.

Symptoms of Hodgkin’s lymphoma become worse when you drink alcohol. Following are the few signs of lymphoma: 

  • Painful swelling in the lymph nodes of armpits, neck, and groin
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Increased sensitivity to alcohol
  • Shoulder and neck pain after drinking alcohol

Lymphoma is curable, particularly in its initial stages. Doctors recommend chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or even a bone marrow transplant for the treatment.

Alcohol Intolerance And Allergy—Pain and Swelling After Drinking Alcohol

Alcohol intolerance is the reaction that occurs when you drink alcohol. It is a genetic disorder that prevents the body from metabolizing alcohol. It may result in swelling, pain, facial redness, and many other reactions. Even after taking a sip of the alcoholic beverage, you feel discomfort.

Alcohol Intolerance And Allergy—Pain and Swelling After Drinking Alcohol

You can only avoid alcohol intolerance if you stay away from the specific alcoholic beverage or ingredient that causes the allergy. An over-the-counter or prescription antihistamine might help relieve inflammation, pain, and itching symptoms. 

Liver Or Gallbladder Disorder – Upper Body Pain after Alcohol Use

If you experience severe pain after drinking liquor frequently, there is a higher risk that you are suffering from liver, gallbladder, or stomach disorders. You are more likely to experience upper body pain. You may feel a stabbing pain that would make you gasp for air.

Following are the few symptoms that may indicate that shoulder and neck pain after drinking alcohol is due to dysfunctional liver or gallbladder: 

  • Stabbing pain in the body
  • Lighter stools
  • Abrupt blood pressure down
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Severe pain in the upper right abdomen

Liver and gallbladder mild pain can be corrected with a good diet and lifestyle changes. But it is good to consult a doctor to prevent any consequences. 

Some Other Causes of Neck and Shoulder Pain After Alcohol Consumption

Apart from the reasons mentioned above, the following are the reasons that result in alcohol intolerance 

  • Binge-drinking
  • Referred pain
  • Stomach disease
  • Kidney disease

Why Do My Shoulders Hurt When I Drink Alcohol?

It must be strange to experience shoulder pain after drinking some shots. But, you can experience pain in any joint. Typically, the pain emerging after drinking is acute rather than chronic. Yet, persistent pain may indicate severe or chronic disease.

You may get a stomach or gallbladder irritation that makes you feel worse after a hangover. Also, pancreas or kidney dysfunction may make your upper body hurt even when you recover from the alcoholic effect. 

Why Do My Shoulders Hurt When I Drink Alcohol?

Moreover, Hodgkin disease may also induce alcohol-related pain. 

Related to read: Can Gas Cause Shoulder Pain?

How to Prevent Neck and Shoulder Pain after Drinking Alcohol?

It may be considered healthy to consume small amounts of alcohol. But the downside is that there are more risks than benefits if you take more than recommended. Shoulder, neck, or collar bone pain after drinking alcohol may go away on its own after recovering from alcohol intoxication. 

But, if your pain is persistent and worsens with more drinking, you should stop taking shots. As a matter of fact, stopping drinking alcoholic beverages prevents you from alcohol-induced pain. Not only this, tissue or organ damage due to alcohol may improve with time. 

It can sometimes be hard to keep your hands away from alcohol. If this is the case, then you may want to consider a rehab center and the support of your family and community to break your drinking habit.

Moreover, you can take mild painkillers for immediate relief from the pain. Yet, it is best to consider a doctor for your proper treatment. 

Don’t Let Addiction Hold You Back, Say Yes To Life!

Indeed, life is the divine gift and the most beautiful thing. You make family, smile, love others, and are loved by others. In contrast, putting addiction ahead of family, work, and life is detrimental. Addiction can isolate you, even when surrounded by loved ones.

Perhaps you have lost your job, are without money, or your partner is gone. On top of that, it ruins your physical and mental health. 

Approximately 2 billion people in the world are alcoholics. You can help yourself by giving up this habit. Think about joining an alcoholism treatment center, and becoming a community member. Live a sober, healthy life!

Say no to alcohol


Will one sip of alcohol do anything?

After taking your first sip, alcohol is absorbed right into your bloodstream. It varies from person to person what the effects of alcohol are and how pronounced they are. Although it may not be immediately apparent, alcohol’s effects can kick in.

Why do my neck pain immediately after drinking alcohol?

Some people are sensitive or allergic to alcohol chemicals. So, they may react as soon as they drink alcohol, such as swelling, flushing, and neck or shoulder pain. Apart from this, dehydration or swollen lymph nodes may result in neck pain.

Why does my upper body hurt after drinking alcohol?

Indeed, pain or hurting in the upper body after a hangover party is due to many reasons. Dehydration, allergy, or electrolyte imbalance may result in inflammation and pain. 

Why do Asians turn red when they drink?

Most East Asian heritage people experience flushing or swelling on their faces after drinking. It is caused by an enzyme deficiency that aids in alcohol degradation: aldehyde dehydrogenase. It is an inherited condition. These people must avoid alcohol or related beverages. 

Can alcoholic myopathy be reversed?

Chronic alcoholic myopathy can take longer to reverse. But it is possible to regain muscle strength and movement. It’s estimated that about 85% of people are sober within 2 to 12 months of quitting alcohol and will reach full recovery within 5 years. Yet, damage to the heart might not be reversible in some instances if the damage is severe.

Why does my collar bone hurt when I drink alcohol?

Drinking alcohol causes the blood vessels in the body to dilate. It causes the lymph fluid to be released. Also, drinking alcohol causes the kidneys to release more fluid since alcohol is an antidiuretic. In response to alcohol overdose, the cervical lymph nodes may swell and cause pain.

Why my neck and shoulder pain after drinking alcohol?

Intoxication can lead to neck and shoulder pain due to unconscious falls, dehydration, or intolerance. In some cases, gallbladder disorders or lymphomas may cause the problem.

Related to read: 5 Reasons to Feel Drunk When You’re Sober

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