The study, led by Dr. Trevor Thompson from the University of Greenwich, and published in The Journal of Pain, found that raising your blood alcohol content to the legal limit of .08%, or about three or four beers deep, elevates your pain threshold significantly. This was according to a meta-analysis of 18 different studies looking at the effect of different dosages of alcohol on subject pain response.
Based on the research, Thompson says alcohol is an effective analgesic (or pain reliever) that “delivers clinically-relevant reductions in ratings of pain intensity,” which probably isn’t too surprising if you’ve ever been in a bar fight or taken a drunken tumble. Not much hurts when you’re three sheets to the wind. What is surprising, however, is that the pain relieving power of alcohol was actually shown to be more powerful than paracetamol, or what’s more commonly known as acetaminophen or Tylenol.
Now, this doesn’t mean you should knock back a six-pack every time you have a headache, but it does highlight an oft-overlooked positive aspect of alcohol consumption. Of course, if you drink too much, you’re really just postponing pain until the next morning.