Caffeine and Its Effects on Joint Pain

How Caffeine Can Contribute to Joint Pain in Santa Monica, CA

As a stimulant, caffeine can have multiple effects on your overall health, both positive and negative. A study from 2000 suggested a connection between caffeine and rheumatoid arthritis, a common source of joint inflammation. Subsequent research has produced mixed results. A more recent study in Finland indicates there may be a link between how many cups of coffee people drink daily and their joint pain. In the article below, Los Angeles spine surgeons discuss a few of the ways caffeine can negatively affect joint pain.

Nerve Irritation

Nerves going from the kidney to the spine may become irritated and inflamed from the toxins in caffeine, especially within the thoracic vertebrae, or upper spine. The iliopsoas group of muscles (psoas major and iliacus) can also be affected. Because these muscles stabilize the hips and lower back, joints can become susceptible to stiffness and pain.

Insomnia and Other Side Effects

Overdoing it with caffeine, whether from coffee, other caffeinated beverages, or even chocolate, can sometimes produce unwanted side effects that can increase muscle and joint stiffness. For instance, insomnia or trouble getting enough recuperative sleep each night can exacerbate existing joint issues, especially when first waking up.

Increased Inflammation

The caffeine found in coffee increases the production of stress hormones. As a result of this added stress, insulin levels increase, which can also increase inflammation and aggravate joint pain.

Mixed Results

Results of the study from 2000 linking caffeine to rheumatoid arthritis haven’t been replicated since. There is also research suggesting moderate caffeine consumption nay hinder the adenosine system, the body’s pain-processing center, and actually minimize joint pain. It should also be noted the Finnish study didn’t include filtered, instant, or percolated coffee.

An 8-ounce cup of coffee has about 100mg of caffeine. According to multiple sources, the safe amount for healthy adults is about 400mg per day, which means 4 cups should be the limit. Anti-inflammatory foods like berries and fatty fish like salmon can also help ease joint pain.

Rheumatoid arthritis and other joint conditions can cause severe pain in the neck and back, which typically requires some sort of treatment for relief. If you’d like to learn about your options for spine surgery, including alternatives to spinal fusion, give The Spine Institute a call today at 310-828-7757. Dr. Bae and his expert team of surgeons are here to help.