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Body Aches After Drinking: Causes and Solutions

Body Aches After Drinking: Causes and Solutions

Is your body sore after drinking? Learn some reasons for this problem here, as well as information about treatment for alcohol addiction.

Being hungover is a side effect of a night of heavy drinking. If you’re experiencing a hangover, you may have muscle soreness after drinking. Why does this happen? Learn some answers, as well as information about alcohol rehab services and medication assisted treatment for alcohol use, below. If you often find that your body is sore after drinking, seeking help for alcohol misuse can help you to reduce your drinking, which can alleviate this side effect. 

Common Causes of Body Aches After Drinking

Sore muscles after drinking can be a part of being hungover. So, what is the reason for noticing your sore body after drinking? Some common causes of this side effect are discussed below. 


One of the causes of hangover symptoms is dehydration. Alcohol is known to be mildly dehydrating, which can cause soreness after drinking. In fact, dehydration is linked to muscle cramps and can explain your hangover body aches. 

Release of Toxins 

Research suggests that binge drinking releases toxins into the bloodstream, which can disrupt immune system functioning and lead to soreness after drinking. Even one night of binge drinking can cause this effect. 

Slowed Muscle Recovery 

If you’re an athlete or engage in regular physical activity, soreness after drinking can be a result of slowed muscle recovery. Alcohol reduces levels of human growth hormone, which plays an important role in muscle recovery. With reduced levels of growth hormone, you’re likely to experience body aches after drinking, especially if you’ve worked your muscles recently through training or exercise. 


Alcohol increases inflammation throughout the body, which can be a reason for feeling that your whole body is sore after drinking. Inflammation can lead to feelings of malaise, which can make it seem like your body is achy and uncomfortable. Inflammation can also explain aching joints after drinking alcohol. 


Since heavy alcohol consumption can impair your coordination, it increases your risk of injuries from falling. If your body feels bruised after drinking, it might be that you bumped into something or fell and got injured while under the influence. 

Electrolyte Imbalance

If a night of heavy drinking has led to sickness and vomiting, you may have an electrolyte imbalance the next morning. This can cause you to be sore after drinking, because electrolyte imbalances are linked to muscle cramping, especially after physical activity. If you had a night of heavy drinking combined with dancing at the club, you’ve created the perfect storm for achy muscles. 

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How Does Alcohol Affect the Muscles? 

Alcohol can have a negative impact on muscle functioning, especially if you drink heavily. Having too much to drink can lead to dehydration, which is associated with muscle cramping. Heavy alcohol use can also increase inflammation, up your chances of injury, and throw off your electrolyte balance, all of which are associated with muscle soreness as well as cramping. 

Common Symptoms of Muscle Problems After Drinking

If you’re coping with muscle soreness after drinking, you may experience some of the following common symptoms: 

  • Achy muscles
  • General soreness
  • Cramping 
  • Bruising around the muscles from injury
  • Muscle fatigue 
  • Heaviness in the muscles 

How Does Alcohol Impact Muscle Development and Recovery?

Muscles rely upon the presence of growth hormone for recovery and growth. When you consume alcohol, growth hormone secretion decreases significantly. In fact, research has shown that alcohol can reduce the secretion of growth hormone by up to 70 percent. This means that it can take longer for your muscles to recover from exercise if you drink regularly, and you may notice that your muscles do not grow and develop as quickly as you’d like.

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The answers to the following questions can also be helpful:

  • Is alcohol bad for your muscles?

When consumed in large quantities, alcohol can slow muscle recovery after exercise, increase inflammation, and lead to electrolyte imbalances. All of these factors have a negative impact on your muscles. 

  • Can alcohol cause muscle cramps?

You may experience muscle cramps after a night of heavy drinking. This is because drinking too much can lead to dehydration, which is associated with muscle cramping. Muscle cramps after drinking can also be due to an electrolyte imbalance. 

  • Why do my bones hurt after drinking? 

If your bones feel sore after drinking, it is likely a side effect of inflammation. Alcohol is known to increase inflammation throughout the body, which can lead to pain in the bones and joints. 

Treating Alcohol-Induced Muscle Problems

A night or two of heavy drinking, even if it’s only occasional, can cause muscle problems, such as cramping, achiness, and general soreness. If you’re experiencing these side effects from drinking, you might be wondering if there are remedies that can help your muscles to feel better. Unfortunately, most of the research shows that alcohol hangover remedies aren’t really effective.

The best thing you can do is rest and take it easy while your body clears itself of the toxins from alcohol. Rehydrating while sipping on water or an electrolyte beverage may be helpful, but there isn’t really a proven cure for hangovers.

If you want to stop pain in muscles after drinking alcohol, the only guaranteed way to prevent soreness is to drink in moderation, or to stop drinking altogether. Having a drink or two isn’t likely to cause hangover body aches, whereas regular binge drinking increases your chances of soreness after drinking. 

To prevent muscle soreness and other consequences from drinking, it is important to drink in moderation, defined as no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two per day for men. Binge drinking is defined as four or more drinks on one occasion for women and five or more on one occasion for men. This level of drinking can lead to body soreness after drinking.

Treating Alcohol Use Disorder

If you experience consequences, such as soreness after drinking, but you continue to drink heavily, you may have an alcohol use disorder, which is the clinical term for an alcohol addiction. An alcohol use disorder is a legitimate medical condition. It causes changes in the brain that make it difficult for a person to stop drinking, even when they have consequences from alcohol misuse. Continued drinking even when experiencing ongoing body aches from alcohol suggests that you may have lost control over your drinking.

Alcohol use disorder is typically treated with a combination of therapy and medication. A specific type of therapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help you to change distorted thinking patterns surrounding alcohol misuse and develop stronger coping skills. Medications used in the treatment of alcohol use disorder can reduce cravings and make it easier to stay committed to recovery. 

Recover From Home With Confidant Health 

When you’re ready to seek treatment for alcohol misuse, Confidant Health can help. We offer online alcohol rehab, so you can begin your recovery from the privacy of home. We can also provide medication assisted treatment for alcohol use to reduce your cravings and make it easier to stay in recovery. Download our app today, on either the App Store or the Google Play Store to get started. 

This article has been medically reviewed by
Erin Hillers
Erin Hillers
Erin Hillers
Nurse Practitioner

Erin is a Nurse Practitioner with 8 years of experience in midwifery and women's health. She has spent the past 5 years specializing in the treatment of opioid and alcohol use disorders.

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