Can Coffee Help With The Pain Of Fibromyalgia?

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Caffeine is a central nervous stimulant that causes a spike in energy after taking it. Unfortunately, that spike is followed by a drop-off of energy, headaches, and altered sleep patterns. Disordered or missing sleep then leads to worse fatigue and pain later on.

Caffeine intake can quickly become a vicious cycle of highs and lows for fibromyalgia patients. Because fibromyalgia is associated with psychological symptoms, drinking caffeine, a central nervous system stimulant, may affect fibromyalgia sufferers. Be sure to ask your doctor how caffeine intake may affect your particular symptoms.

The main problem with caffeine is that it causes the synapses in the brain to ‘fire off’. In the immediate moment this helps alertness, hence the ability to wake up better after a morning brew. But it also dehydrates you and raises blood pressure.

Drinking a lot actually makes you tireder, which leads to you feeling like you need to drink more of it! If you cut off the caffeine after a long history of taking it, you’ll also likely face headaches, drowsiness, irritability, nausea, and vomiting due to withdrawal.

Effects of excessive caffeine

These include

You’ll also likely face headaches, drowsiness, irritability, nausea, and vomiting due to withdrawal if you cut off the caffeine after a long history of taking it. Caffeine is digested, enters the bloodstream and stimulates the central nervous system.

Specifically, caffeine can increase energy and alertness. Many Americans consume caffeine-containing products on a daily basis. Caffeine is not stored in the body and is excreted in the urine a few hours after consumption, states Medline Plus, of the National Institutes of Health.

May act as an opioid adjuvant

Caffeine consumption was associated with decreased pain and symptom severity in opioid users, but not in opioid non-users, indicating caffeine may act as an opioid adjuvant in fibromyalgia-like chronic pain patients. These data suggest that caffeine consumption concomitant with opioid analgesics could provide therapeutic benefits not seen with opioids or caffeine alone.

In opioid users, caffeine consumption had modest but significant effects on pain, catastrophizing, and physical function. Lower levels of pain interference were associated with low and moderate caffeine use compared to no caffeine intake.

Lower pain catastrophizing and higher physical function were observed in all caffeine dose groups, relative to the no caffeine group. Lower pain severity and depression were observed only in the moderate caffeine group. In opioid nonusers, low caffeine intake was associated with higher physical function; however, no other significant effects were observed.

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Sources of caffeine

Caffeine doesn’t only exist in coffee either. It is also present in many teas, sodas, chocolate, energy drinks, supplements, over-the-counter diet pills, and other medications, such as Excedrin.

Gluten intolerance and coffee

I came across a recent complication that I may have to address the possibility that my Fibro-riddled body may have a reaction to gluten. Gluten is in everything and acts like an addictive poison. Gluten is exacerbating my pain levels, is that coffee can behave like gluten (as, apparently do other foods).

From breakfast food, to my enjoyment of pizza, to my preference for beer as an alcoholic drink the likelihood is that some foods have been doing me harm. But worse, if a drink like coffee behaves like gluten then I’m well and truly stuffed.

Best timing to consume coffee

If you do take caffeine, only take it earlier in the day and in small doses. The American Pain Society study found little evidence of elevated pain levels with low to moderate consumption of caffeine during the day. Low to moderate is characterized as anything less than four cups a day.

Coffee can worsen your stress

According to research from the University of Michigan, Heavy caffeine use has been linked to increased severity of pain among people with fibromyalgia. The study did not uncover a connection between low to moderate caffeine intake and pain only for those drinking four or more drinks per day.

Researchers said the clearest link came from people who drank at least eight cups of caffeinated drinks each day. If you drink coffee or another caffeinated beverage, listen to your body and try to reduce your intake if it seems to worsen your pain.

Caffeine and exhaustion

Similar to its relationship with headaches, caffeine can be a double-edged sword when it comes to fatigue, which is a hallmark symptom of fibromyalgia. the effects of caffeine are short-lived, which often leads people to ingest more caffeine in order to maintain its desired effects on their energy level, concentration, or functioning. Every day, millions of people consume caffeine in an effort to fight fatigue, to increase their alertness, and improve functioning.

Additionally, caffeine can inadvertently induce or perpetuate fatigue if consumption is abruptly stopped and withdrawal symptoms set in. Some fibromyalgia patients clearly experience a negative effect from caffeine. As with many potential fibromyalgia treatment options, the best approach to caffeine is to test and measure your individual response and ensure that you coordinate with your care team and pay careful attention to possible interactions with other drugs you may be taking.

Drink hot herbal tea

Fibromyalgia and caffeine intake can have harmful effects on your health and current pain levels. By only making a few small adjustments, such as drinking hot herbal tea instead of coffee or drinking decaf coffee, you can begin to take more control over your own pain levels and quality of life.

Small doses of caffeine intake per day may not have significant effects on fibromyalgia symptoms. However, large or excessive doses of caffeine may worsen psychological symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.

People with fibromyalgia have enough stress in their lives, and staying away from caffeine can be one step in a comprehensive stress-management plan.


Also Read: Fibromyalgia Diet: What to eat and what not to eat


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“The conclusion I came to is coffee and fibro are not friends, it usually does one of two things to me: makes me very dizzy or aggravates my bladder so I tend to have it very sparingly. As far as gluten is concerned I’ve been tested twice and both times it was negative, but for fog related reasons I have no idea whether I was better as gluten free or not. Dairy is the thing that makes a big difference to my ability to function (but ironically they won’t test that). Hope you have a low pain day, and your coffee issues pan out as you wish “-Emily


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