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Alcohol and Substance Abuse

Alcohol and substance abuse can cause lasting damage to the musculoskeletal system and have a detrimental effect on bone microarchitecture.
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Alcohol and substance abuse can cause lasting damage to the musculoskeletal system and have a detrimental effect on bone microarchitecture. Alcohol abuse, can influence the severity of an individual’s experience of pain.

Chronic heavy alcohol use, especially during adolescence and young adult years, can dramatically affect bone health and increase the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures later in life. People who struggle with alcohol disrupt the ability of the digestive system to absorb calcium, and on a long-term basis, this can lead to osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, or other conditions. This increases the risk of fractures, especially when combined with the loss of physical coordination that occurs when a person is drunk. Those fractures will likely heal slowly because of malnutrition associated with alcohol misuse.

Even low to moderate amounts of alcohol may cause problems for a person with joint pain. People who abuse alcohol, especially chronic, heavy drinkers, may experience symptoms of pain more heavily. When adolescents or young adults abuse steroids, the drug forces bones to stop growing, leading to shorter stature and potential bone problems later in life. Abuse of steroids can also change the ability of muscles to grow and cause tendon rupture in any age group.

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Musculoskeletal Health: A Public Health Approach

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