Chronic Pain : Get Your Coffee Fix (Pain Free)

Good news for coffee drinkers: scientists in Norway report that coffee helps reduce physical pain. In a study of 48 volunteers performing 90 minutes of tasks mimicking office work¡ªtasks known to cause pain in the shoulders, neck, forearms, and wrists¡ªscientists allowed people to drink coffee before the test ¡°to avoid unpleasant effects of caffeine deprivation, e.g., decreased vigor and alertness, sleepiness, and fatigue.¡± Researchers found that the 19 people who drank coffee reported a lower intensity of pain than the 29 people who didn¡¯t.

Study authors caution that the results come with some uncertainty, since the study wasn¡¯t designed to test coffee¡¯s influence on pain¡ªits purpose was to determine how people with chronic pain tolerated the tasks compared with people who were pain-free. But coffee¡¯s pain-mitigation effect held up regardless of whether the subjects had chronic pain. This is promising news for those of us who enjoy a cup of joe, adding to coffee¡¯s growing list of health benefits, including weight loss, a reduced risk of Alzheimer¡¯s disease, protection against certain types of cancer, and more.

¡°Coffee Intake and Development of Pain During Computer Work¡± by V. Strom et al., BMC Research Notes, 2012 ¡ñ ¡°Scientists Find a New Benefit of Coffee: It Reduces Pain¡± by Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times, 9/5/12
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