Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

media. music. feminism. food. city-dwelling. story-telling. and other things.

A Puzzle

with one comment

Ever since I realized beer came in more varieties than Natty Lite and Natty Ice, I’ve been a beer girl. Oh, I think wine’s all right (particularly a good Malbec or Gewurztraminer), and it’s not that I never drink liquor, but I almost never drink liquor (more a matter of taste—whiskey never fails to make me shudder and cringe in horror— than any sort of “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off” issues). Almost always, however, my alcohol preference is beer; from Michelob Ultra (so light & refreshing!) to the barley wine cask ales served at Brooklyn’s Spuyten Duyvil, I’m pretty much a fan of it all (though my appreciation of stouts and hefferveisens has waned over the years).

Now even as a youngster I was more prone to hangovers than almost anyone I knew or, at least, prone to worse hangovers from less alcohol. The amount I’m able to drink without feeling ill effects has lessened over the years, which I understand is pretty normal. But it’s been getting ridiculous in the past year or so, to the point where I can’t have two drinks in the course of an evening without reaping the effects the next day.

Ahh, “the effects.” This is where the puzzle part comes in.

These days, when I drink, I wake up the next day with extreme back pain, starting in my lower back and getting worse the closer it gets to my shoulders; a headache; and a stuffy nose the likes of which are rarely seen outside of January. No amount of pain medication, hydration, or any other hangover cure, scientific and homespun, does much good. I’ve researched alcohol intolerance, but found it mainly occurs in Asians and refers to symptoms that begin immediately after consuming alcohol (and while congestion is listed as a symptom, back pain is not).

I guess I’m wondering if any others have experienced similar reactions to alcohol as they’ve gotten older, or have any suggestions for how alcohol consumption could be tied to back pain & congestion? Perhaps it is uncouth to be blogging about my own personal health mysteries, but it occurred to me there may just be a burgeoning Dr. Hugh Laurie out there reading this who will be able to swiftly and over the Internet both tell me what my problem is and offer a way to avoid all these terrible symptoms while still getting to enjoy beer.

A girl can dream, can’t she?

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Written by Elizabeth

June 12, 2010 at 12:04 pm

One Response

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  1. My sister says that her kidneys start to hurt a lot if she drinks too much. Could that be what your back pain is? She doesn’t know why, though.

    Erin Elizabeth

    June 14, 2010 at 2:27 pm


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