The Effect of Alcohol on Cervical Spondylosis

Image by, courtesy of lost in translation) (Gordana Adamovic-Mladenovic

Cervical spondylosis is a form of arthritis affecting men and women over the age of 40. The many movements that wear down cartilage and bone in the neck and spine over the years cause cervical spondylosis. Alcohol use can interfere with the treatment of this disease.


Excessive drinking can have an adverse affect on cervical spondylosis. Alcohol use can give you the illusion of being pain-free after several drinks, but, according to author Shiv Dua, the alcohol will only exacerbate pain and cervical damage once the effect of drunkenness wears off.

Drug Interaction

The pain medications and muscle relaxants you take to treat cervical spondylosis may not interact well with alcohol. The muscle relaxant diazepam can actually amplify the effects of alcohol. Codeine, often taken by sufferers as a pain reliever, also should not be taken with alcohol.

As a Treatment

The Karolinska Institute in Stockholm reported in 2008 that moderate alcohol intake could prevent arthritis. However, the report surveyed only those with rheumatoid arthritis, and the results cannot necessarily be generalised to cervical spondylosis.


Excessive drinking before surgery for cervical spondylosis is also hazardous as alcohol prevents the anaesthesia from working properly. Alcohol also thins the blood, which can lead to excess bleeding during the operation.


Alcohol use should be decreased gradually prior to surgery, according to the Merck Manuals, because a sudden stop to a longtime habit can have adverse effects on the way anaesthesia works in your body.

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