Coffee continues to get positive press in recent health news. This time, the beloved morning beverage is being touted for its pain-relieving effects. As a healing food, coffee has been singled out for its ability to help fight cancer.
But now, it seems coffee also has a beneficial role to play when it comes to stopping pain from getting worse and increasing in intensity.
Researchers devised an ingenious study where they sought to determine if people who drank coffee before performing a computer office-work task (meant to deliberately provoke pain in the neck, shoulders, forearms and wrists) showed different results in pain development than people who didn’t drink any coffee.
Forty-eight people participated in the study. All were working full-time, and 22 had chronic shoulder and neck pain. The other 26 were described as healthy, pain-free subjects. All the participants performed the pain-inducing computer office task for 90 minutes. Nineteen (40%) of the subjects had consumed coffee (half a cup to one cup) on average just over an hour before the start of the study. Pain intensity in the shoulders, neck, forearms, and wrists was rated on a scale every 15 minutes throughout the work task.
That’s when the researchers discovered that the coffee consumers exhibited a significantly lower pain increase than those who abstained from coffee. The research team concluded that the pain-modulating effect of caffeine warrants further study before it can be recommended as an alternative remedy for pain relief.
Before you begin a regime of drinking 10 cups of coffee a day, however, consider this health advice: caffeine could have negative health effects for some people. According to a recent Polish study, the problem is that caffeine is a stimulant of the central nervous system. Excessive consumption can cause insomnia, headaches, and gastrointestinal complaints in some people. They also note that metabolism of caffeine by a pregnant woman is slowed down, and therefore it passes freely across the placenta into the fetus. For this reason, the researchers say, pregnant women should limit caffeine intake.