Have you ever noticed how downing a few beers makes you feel invincible? That’s because alcohol, in addition to annihilating your inhibitions, also increases your tolerance to pain while simultaneously dulling it, according to new research.
Writing in The Journal of Pain,researchers at Greenwich University in the United Kingdom found that alcohol isn’t just an effective painkiller, but apparently is more effective than most over-the-counter drugs. In fact, a stiff drink can be similar in effect to even the most powerful prescription opioids. But that doesn’t mean you should necessarily ditch your Tylenol regiment for a night at the bar.
The study overall indicates that in order to really have an impact on pain, you would have to cross well beyond the threshold for low-risk drinking habits, which allow women to drink only three alcoholic beverages on any given day, and no more than seven drinks per week, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
What the study really indicates about alcohol is that “it can be compared to opioid drugs such as codeine, and the effect is more powerful than [Tylenol],” said Trevor Thompson, one of the authors of the study.
And it turns out, the more people drank, the less pain they felt. The evidence Thompson and his colleagues collected from 18 controlled experiments involving 404 subjects was overwhelming. Three or four average drinks that produce a blood-alcohol content around 0.08%, which is conveniently also the legal impairment level, can reduce pain by up to 25%, while also influencing pain tolerance.
But many people who experience regular pain know this already. According to PainAction, past studies have indicated that as many as 28% of of those with chronic pain issues utilize alcohol as part of their pain management strategy. And although many modern doctors consider drinking as pain management a slippery slope into addiction, not everyone is so quick to dismiss alcohol and its painkilling properties.
"It is cheaper than morphine,” reported Dr. Harold George Wolff of Cornell to the Association of American Physicians meeting at Atlantic City as early as 1941. “Of course alcohol is habit-forming but an alcohol habit is less difficult to deal with than a morphine habit. Whiskey is one of the cheapest and best painkillers known to man." It’s no wonder that doctors on the battlefield during World War II used alcohol to treat everything from toothaches to traumatic injuries.
Though excessive drinking can obviously cause long-term damage to your body (and your poor liver in particular), those wary of developing an opioid addiction might be keen to consider this as alternative painkiller — in moderation, of course.
Army Sgt. Jeremy Seals died on Oct. 31, 2018, following a protracted battle with stomach cancer. His widow, Cheryl Seals is mounting a lawsuit alleging that military care providers missed her husband's cancer. Task & Purpose photo illustration by Aaron Provost
The widow of a soldier whose stomach cancer was allegedly overlooked by Army doctors for four years is mounting a medical malpractice lawsuit against the military, but due to a decades-old legal rule known as the Feres Doctrine, her case will likely be dismissed before it ever goes to trial.
The first grenade core was accidentally discovered on Nov. 28, 2018, by Virginia Department of Historic Resources staff examining relics recovered from the Betsy, a British ship scuttled during the last major battle of the Revolutionary War. The grenade's iron jacket had dissolved, but its core of black powder remained potent. Within a month or so, more than two dozen were found. (Virginia Department of Historic Resources via The Virginian-Pilot)
In an uh-oh episode of historic proportions, hand grenades from the last major battle of the Revolutionary War recently and repeatedly scrambled bomb squads in Virginia's capital city.
Wait – they had hand grenades in the Revolutionary War? Indeed. Hollow iron balls, filled with black powder, outfitted with a fuse, then lit and thrown.
And more than two dozen have been sitting in cardboard boxes at the Department of Historic Resources, undetected for 30 years.
(From left to right) Chris Osman, Chris McKinley, Kent Kroeker, and Talon Burton
At least four American veterans were among a group of eight men arrested by police in Haiti earlier this week for driving without license plates and possessing an arsenal of weaponry and tactical gear.
Police in Port-au-Prince arrested five Americans, two Serbians, and one Haitian man at a police checkpoint on Sunday, according to The Miami-Herald. The men told police they were on a "government mission" but did not specify for which government, according to The Herald.
They also told police that "their boss was going to call their boss," implying that someone high in Haiti's government would vouch for them and secure their release, Herald reporter Jacqueline Charles told NPR.
What they were actually doing or who they were potentially working for remains unclear. A State Department spokesperson told Task & Purpose they were aware that Haitian police arrested a "group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens," but declined to answer whether the men were employed by or operating under contract with the U.S. government.