Allergy Community
10.3k Members
Avatar universal

alcohol induced shoulder pain

There has got to be something to this and I'm thinking it would be a great thesis paper for a graduating medical student!  
I'm 30 and have experienced these symptoms throughout my 'drinking life' every time I consume the slightest amount of alcohol.  I don't drink beer as I can't take the taste but prefer wine coolers or grain alcohol drinks.  I drink rarely, about every other month or two, but when I do it doesn't take long for crippling shoulder pain, yawning, and fatigue to result.  Typically, it only takes about half a glass or bottle for the reaction to begin which is probably around 15-20 minutes from starting to drink.  The symptoms last for 30-45 minutes and then subside and everything is back to normal.  
I'm fine with not consuming alcohol but it would be nice to understand what is happening.  I've questioned a few doctors over the years and no one has any explanations other than some chemical reaction is happening incorrectly or not at all within my body.  
You never know if something so rare, as these symptoms seem to be around the world, you could find the answer to alcohol intolerance, addiction, dependence or death... wish I had the ability to find out.  Maybe someone out there does?!?!?  
85 Responses
Avatar universal
I have this happen as well, it started about a year ago out of the blue.  It affected my right arm, at times all the way down to the wrist, and now affects my left as well.  It happens within a minute of one swallow of any type of alcohol (although beer is less painful).  It starts, peaks, then fades.  It lasts from 5-10 minutes, and when it's gone I feel fine.  When it happens I also feel like I have a really bad body ache flu, but that feeling goes away with pain.  I had one pathologist say it was a sign of Hodgkin's Disease, and I had one say that maybe it could be from gerd, but my Gastroenterologist has never heard of this from any of his patients.  Google alcohol induced pain, most of it is regarding Hodgkin's Disease.
Good luck
Avatar universal
bro i got the same thing i think. whenever i drink i get a crazy pain in my shoulder and it hurts so bad that i dont drink anymore.  i had shoulder problems when i was younger but not for awhile.  it is only on my right shoulder in the back.  people thought i was crazy so thank you for writing this and please if you find out why let the world know.
Avatar universal
I have the same problem, that only started after I entered remission from Hodgkin's Disease, and I did not have alcohol related pain before I was diagnosed.  It radiates from a point in my left shoulder blade, also at the back, throbbing down my left arm.  It used to affect my left leg at the hip too, but now it is just my arm.  I also get flu like aches, and the pain is so bad I literally have to go to bed within an hour of consuming alcohol.

My doctor sent me for blood tests (B12 and folic acid) but they were normal.  My cancer hospital says it could be nerve damage from the chemo, but have never heard of this otherwise, and my extensive blood tests there are normal too.

It's driving me mad, I'm not a frequent drinker but having the choice taken away is very annoying!  I am also concerned that my disease is coming back and would really like to rule that out.  Any responses to this welcome!
681148 tn?1437665191
I have the same thing, only the symptoms last a lot longer.  I never could stand beer either.  Interestingly, I knew that alcohol would evaporate when cooking with it.  I was introduced to cooking with wine.  I really liked the taste, but shortly after trying to cook with the stuff, I still got sick.  So, then, I knew it wasn't just the alcohol I was allergic to.  I learned that I was allergic to sulfites.  Grapes always did bother my GERD, but they also contain natural sulfites.  I don't eat grapes anymore.  I also can't eat garlic or onions anymore, because they make me sick, too.  They also contain high amounts of natural sulfites.

If you suspect you're allergic to alcohol, you probably are.  It's better to just steer clear of the stuff.  You might be allergic to some of the other things commonly in alcoholic beverages, like the sulfites, but also gluten.  Remember, beer is a grain alcohol made primarily of wheat and/or barley along with the hops and other things.  Wheat and barley contain the most gluten of all the gluten containing grains.  It isn't just the alcohol that makes beer drinkers gain weight.  Grains with gluten are also fattening.  Gluten in moderation is fine, if you're not allergic to it.  I have a friend who is so allergic to gluten that the tiniest amount, like the tablespoon or so of flour used to thicken a gravy, will make her sick.

Instead of asking for more trouble and more severe allergies, it's better to just avoid the alcohol altogether.  

I can understand the annoyance that jokelly119 feels about having to abstain from alcohol because the body is allergic to it.  I've always had some reaction to alcohol and used to drink about half a bottle of a single serving of wine cooler or less and notice that I still had trouble with the stuff.  I had to give up on it.

On the positive side, we have less chance than most people of becoming alcoholics, since the slightest amount of the stuff makes us sick.
Avatar universal
after several months suffering from this alcohol induced pain, it has now been found that again I do have hodgkin's lymphoma, and it has spread into my hip, other bones and lung, as well as in my lymph nodes.  get yourself checked if you are worried about this!  alcohol induced pain is one of the first symptoms of this cancer, and i went with it for months!
Avatar universal
I also have this...mostly my right shoulder at first. then it spread to my left and now down both arms every time I consume alcohol...within 1 minute and lasting for about 5...it's very intense pain...i also have some bowel problems...i have had inflammation in my small intestine as well as gastritis...but diagnosed with ibs??lol...i dont know...does anyone have any information?i dont think i have cancer...seeing as how i have had alot of blood work done and it all came back clear.
Have an Answer?
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Find out what causes asthma, and how to take control of your symptoms.
Find out if your city is a top "allergy capital."
Find out which foods you should watch out for.
If you’re one of the 35 million Americans who suffer from hay fever, read on for what plants are to blame, where to find them and how to get relief.
Allergist Dr. Lily Pien answers Medhelp users' most pressing allergy-related questions
When you start sniffling and sneezing, you know spring has sprung. Check out these four natural remedies to nix spring allergies.