People with fibromyalgia already suffer from the unpredictable nature of the disorder. Unfortunately, common vices such as caffeine may exacerbate the widespread pain and other disruptive symptoms caused by fibromyalgia. Although coffee and other caffeinated beverages drunk in moderation have not been shown to significantly impact the lives of patients with fibromyalgia, the danger is that people will drink excessive amounts to combat fatigue and related symptoms.
New research by American University has shown that caffeine is not as innocent as it initially appeared.
Researchers now say up to 50% of U.S. adults experience withdrawal symptoms when trying to curb their caffeine intake. For people with fibromyalgia, those negative impacts can compound existing difficulties caused by caffeine. Giving up your delicious morning café latte may seem like an unthinkable feat, but doing so could abate your symptoms and help you feel better.
1. Caffeine may interfere with sleep.
Fatigue is a common symptom of fibromyalgia—one that could have you craving a cup of coffee to wake up. However, drinking coffee could hinder a good night’s rest, which is difficult enough for people with fibromyalgia to get as it is. A 2011 study by Norwegian researchers even showed that sleep problems may lead to the development of fibromyalgia. Skipping coffee can help you sleep more restfully.
2. Caffeine may increase the severity of pain.
Heavy caffeine use has been linked to increased severity of pain among people with fibromyalgia, according to research from the University of Michigan. 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.
3. Caffeinated beverages may worsen stress.
Coffee and other drinks with caffeine stimulate the nervous system and heart, which can lead to nervousness, anxiety, and stress. People with fibromyalgia have enough stress in their lives, and staying away from caffeine can be one step in a comprehensive stress-management plan.
Do you stay away from caffeine to lessen your fibromyalgia symptoms?
Image by Jennie Faber via Flickr