Will your holiday party glass of wine eliminate your pain?

19 December 2019
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The answer is: possibly.

Medoc’s Pathway CHEPS was used in a recently published study by Horn-Hofmann et al. (2019) assessing pain modulation under the influence of alcohol in healthy volunteers.
Both Temporal Summation of pain (TS) and Conditioned Pain Modulation (CPM) were examined. The stimulus intensity for the TS was adjusted to be +3 degrees C above pain threshold. The heat TS paradigm was also used as the test stimulus for the CPM paradigm, and a hot water bath of 46 degrees was used as the conditioning stimulus.

Participants were subjected to thermal testing before and after drinking either placebo, a low dose, or a higher dose of alcohol. Results show that CPM inhibition was enhanced in the alcohol condition as compared to the placebo condition, and the higher alcohol dose yielded an increased CPM effect. TS was unchanged under the influence of alcohol.

The analgesic effect from alcohol seems by virtue of enhanced action of the inhibitory pathways, rather than limitation of excitatory ones.

However, soothing pain with alcohol on the long term is not advised, as alcohol will bring along a whole set of new problems.

Citation:
Horn-Hofmann, Claudia, Eva Susanne Capito, Jörg Wolstein, and Stefan Lautenbacher. “Acute alcohol effects on conditioned pain modulation, but not temporal summation of pain.” Pain 160, no. 9 (2019): 2063-2071.

Link to the abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31276454