Chronic Pain? Ease it with Coffee - Study Finds Coffee Alleviates Physical Pain

By Rebecca Lewis on September 10, 2012

Coffee, an all-time favourite of many, appears to be more of a healthy option. Despite the caffeine issues, past studies found that coffee aids in weight loss, reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, improves cognitive function, boosts muscle growth, etc.

Is it a good pain relief too?

Just recently, scientists found another amazing effect of coffee. In a study published in the BMC Research Notes, it was found that people who drank coffee experienced a significant reduction in pain.

Researchers from Norway’s National Institute of Occupational Health and Oslo University Hospital invited 48 individuals to participate in an experiment which involves doing computer tasks that mimic that of the office works. Such tasks were known to cause pain in the wrists, arms, shoulders, and in the neck. The goal is to compare how people with chronic pain tolerated the tasks as compared to pain-free individuals.

The researchers allowed the participants to drink coffee before taking the test to decrease the undesirable effects of caffeine deprivation including sleepiness, fatigue and reduced vigour. Upon analysing the data, the researchers were surprised to find that 19 people who drank coffee reported to experience lower pain intensity as compared to the 29 who didn’t.

Researchers raise doubts on the findings

Coffee drinkers reported an average pain intensity of 41 from the scale of 1-100 in the neck and shoulders. The same results were found for all other pain areas. The pain relieving effect of coffee seems to be the same regardless of whether the participants had chronic pain or not. 

But because the study wasn’t primarily designed to measure the effects of coffee in alleviating chronic pain, the results obtain come with plenty of uncertainties, the researchers noted. For instance, they didn’t know how much coffee the participants consumed prior to taking the test. Issues such as this pose doubts on the role of coffee in mitigating pain. However, their findings could perhaps encourage more scientists to take a closer look on coffee and its relationship with pain. Who knows? It could be a safer and effective option to address chronic pain.


Sources of this article:

Scientists find a new benefit of coffee: It reduces pain, Los Angeles Times

Coffee intake and development of pain during computer work, BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:480 doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-480

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