The other day I tried to do exercises on the living room floor as part of my noble New Year’s resolutions.
Bad news! I tore muscles and wreaked havoc on nerve endings in my back and shoulder, right around the shoulder blade and over into my spinal area. I didn’t expect the pain! It’s been more than a week and the jabs move all over causing near-tears moments and constant annoyance.
Sometimes the throbbing likes my wrist, other times it sits in my forearm, sometimes it jumps up to my shoulder and then it decides to visit my spine at the base of my neck.
And so this morning, after grabbing an espresso shot on impulse, I was oh-so-pleasantly surprised. I took two sips of the dark stuff and felt a bit of heaven. My arm open up its clogged corridors, and I made my discovery: caffeine actually kicks butt as a pain killer!
For half an hour, at least, after drinking my espresso, the constant pain and pressure stopped. I’d already tried everything I could think of: medicated creams, oral pain killers, ice and heat, I will note, and I hadn’t gotten a break.
Needless to say, I feel like I’ve found some secret elixir. And so, I decided to do a bit of a search to see if I was the only one to find solace in the dark bean, and surprise, surprise, I’m not.
Here’s what a quick search turned up, in addition to my personal anecdotes: the proof is out there.
In 2009, a study done at the University of Illinois looked at the pain-relieving powers of caffeine among male cyclists. The results found conclusively that caffeine reduced the cyclists’ perception of pain.
Surprisingly, it seemed to reduce pain equally among those who were regular coffee drinkers and those who were not regular consumers, which is great news. No need to worry about holding out on drinking coffee regularly in order to get effective pain relief when it’s needed. Apparently, at least in this study, caffeine tolerance didn’t seem to be an issue.
And a further study done in Norway found that drinking coffee could reduce back and neck pain among office workers working at computers all day. (Yes! That’s me!!)
So, the next time you twist an ankle playing soccer, or catch your finger in the door holding too many groceries while the wind whips around, think of reaching for a latte with a double shot of the dark stuff first.
Try it, before you pop those pills to treat your painful parts. It might just be a breakfast drink, I know…but it just might work.