Q. Are my symptoms due to alcohol neuropathy or a back injury?

Answered by
Dr. Hitesh Kumar
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on May 29, 2017 and last reviewed on: Sep 29, 2021

Hello doctor,

I am a 31 years old, who weighs 160 lbs and 5.10 feet tall. I drink alcohol on and off since I was 18 years old. Once I got back from deployment, I drank pretty hard with friends. I would say 3 to 8 beers every other night and then 12 to 16 on weekends. I quit drinking cold turkey a month and a few weeks ago, but then I started having weird symptoms. I get panic attacks, my heart would race, and I would get dizzy and light headed. About the same time, I hurt my lower back using an ab roller. Now, my heart still beats faster than it normally does, especially in the mornings when I first get out of the bed. It almost slows back down to normal when my wife and I go on walks though. My back is still hurting as I am waiting for my MRI, but I have been to the ER four times in a month with chest tightness and a racing heart. The last time I went, I was given Morphine, which brought all my vitals back to normal. Am I at risk for alcohol neuropathy or could the racing heart and sometimes shortness of breath be attributed to a potential back injury?



Welcome to

After quitting alcohol, many patients get alcohol withdrawal symptoms, but that usually develops within a week of quitting alcohol.

Chest tightness and racing heart can be because of some cardiac problem like rhythm disturbance or ischemic heart disease, or it can also be due to severe anxiety or panic attack. But it does not seem to be related to the back injury.

Chronic alcoholismis a risk factor for developing heart problem also. For back pain, you can get an MRI of the spine. As you have consumed alcohol for such a long time, there is a possibility that it might have affected your nerves already, which may be subclinical and can be looked for by doing the following tests:

  1. NCV (nerve conduction velocity) of both legs.
  2. Serum vitamin B12 and B1 levels.

If your heart tests come out to be normal, you can meet a psychiatrist for proper de-addiction treatment and also a treatment for your anxiety and panic attacks.

For further queries consult a neurologist online -->

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