Is alcohol consumption related to likelihood of reporting chronic widespread pain in people with stable consumption? Results from UK Biobank

Marcus J Beasley, Tatiana V Macfarlane, Gary J Macfarlane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Studies have suggested alcohol consumption is strongly related to reduced reporting of chronic widespread pain (CWP) and level of disability in people with CWP or fibromyalgia. Direction of causality has not been established, that is whether the association is due to people's health influencing their alcohol consumption or vice versa. UK Biobank recruited over 500,000 people aged 40-69 years registered at medical practices nationwide. Participants provided detailed information on health and lifestyle factors including pain and alcohol consumption. Total units consumed per week was calculated for current drinkers. Information was also collected on changes in alcohol consumption and reasons for such changes. Analysis was by logistic regression expressed as odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs), then adjusted for a large number of potential confounding factors (adjORs). In males who reported drinking the same as 10 years previously, there was a U-shaped relationship between amount drunk and odds of reporting CWP (non-drinkers CWP prevalence 2.4%, 19.1-32.1 units/wk 0.4%, >53.6 units/wk 1.0%; adjORs 2.53 95% CI [1.78-3.60] vs 1 vs 1.52 [1.05-2.20]). In females there was a decrease in proportion reporting CWP up to the modal category of alcohol consumption with no further change in those drinking more (non-drinkers CWP prevalence 3.4%, 6.4-11.2 units/wk 0.7%, >32.1 units/wk 0.7%; adjORs 2.11 [1.67-2.66] vs 1 vs 0.86 [0.54-1.39]). This large study has shown a clear relationship between alcohol consumption and reporting of pain even in people who had not reported changing consumption due to health concerns, after adjustment for potential confounding factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2552-2560
Number of pages9
JournalPain
Volume157
Issue number11
Early online date19 Jul 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016

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