BlogHow Can Caffeine Cause Pain? |

So many people rely on caffeine to make it through the day. Coffee, diet Coke, energy drinks, or anything else containing the stimulant are very popular in our fast-paced culture. While caffeine is naturally occurring, it does have some negative consequences for some people, especially those already dealing with chronic pain conditions.

Here are some of the ways that caffeine adversely affects some conditions and how you can avoid additional issues.

Migraines and other headaches

One of the most common issues of caffeine consumption is its effect on headaches, especially migraines. While it sometimes helps to alleviate the pain by stimulating the body and decreasing fatigue, it can also have long-term negative effects. Rebound headaches, caused by withdrawal, can be debilitating. Withdrawal from normal caffeine intake is rare but, for anyone consuming more than 500 milligrams a day, it can become a problem. Patients with chronic pain conditions need to be especially careful about their consumption of caffeine since many over-the-counter pain relievers contain it.

Back pain

Did you know that caffeine can worsen your already existing back pain? It is possible that your daily dose of coffee is stressing out your adrenal glands which are located just above your kidneys. A caffeine habit can overstimulate the adrenal glands and the body will react to protect them from further damage. As the body focuses on repairing the adrenal glands, the ligaments and joints in the lower back appear to be the ones to suffer. The sacroiliac joint, which supports the weight of the body in the lower back, may weaken from the lack of support within the body. You can read more about this theory here.


Another pain-related condition that can be adversely affected by caffeine consumption is osteoarthritis. Caffeine can often increase the inflammation that is present in joints affected by arthritis. The more inflammation present in these joints, the more someone experiencing the condition will feel related pain. Cutting it out of your diet and taking over-the-counter pain relievers that do not contain the substance can help reduce inflammation and symptoms.

How much caffeine do you consume throughout the day? Do you feel that it has increased pain related to your condition?

Image by John Tornow via Flickr