Coffee Drinkers Beware: Facts About Caffeine You Did Not Know

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There are hundreds, if not thousands, of books which discuss the wide-range of views concerning the mass use of caffeine in our culture. 

From my own research, it does not seem to be much of a debate- nutritionists and scientists have repeatedly shown, in a myriad of ways, that the caffeine chemical is not very healthy for the human body.

In his book Caffeine Blues Stephen Cherniske, M.S goes so far to propose that if caffeine were introduced today as a new food additive, the FDA would never approve it. 

He explains that any substance that causes such extreme reactions—heart palpitations, anxiety, panic, insomnia, and even birth defects—would be treated as a new drug and denied status as a food additive.

This is an interesting perspective, and if you are a big coffee drinker I urge you to consider the sentiment.  The purpose of this article is to expound on Mr. Cherniske’s insights and explore some unique and interesting characteristics of caffeine that you may not have known.

Before I get to these points, let me say that although I will paint a pretty negative picture of coffee and caffeine, my goal is NOT to scold you and suggest that you stop drinking coffee immediately. 

I hope some of the things I explain opens your eyes to the elemental effects of caffeine, but I also understand, and believe, there is a very real enjoyment for many people in a nice, hot cup of Java (for me too, sometimes)!

With that said, here are a few interesting things I bet you didn’t know about coffee and caffeine:

Its a Pesticide

By definition, caffeine is a naturally occurring compound found in the beans, leaves, and fruit of over 60 plants where it acts as a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding on the plants.  If you drink a lot of coffee and caffeinated drinks, I urge you to read that sentence again and start seeing caffeine in this light—as a substance produced with the sole purpose to harm creatures that ingest it.

Its Highly Acidic 

To date, over 700 volatile substances have been found in coffee, including more than 200 acids and an incredible array of alcohols, aromatic compounds and carbonyl compounds.

It Erodes Your Ability to Metabolize Blood Sugar

Caffeine stimulates the fight or flight stress response in humans and plays a major role in hypoglycemia (a condition where blood sugar levels fall below normal).  As part of this response, the liver rapidly raises blood sugar levels.  This is felt as a “lift” to the person consuming caffeine, but the body must then deal with the metabolic emergency of hyperglycemia, or elevated blood sugar. 

This is accomplished by the pancreas, which secretes insulin, driving the blood sugar down.  Over time, this “wear and tear” of our blood sugar metabolism causes the system to become ineffective and can result in hypoglycemia and even diabetes.

There is NO Positive Science

According to Mr. Cherniske:  “No scientific study has ever shown that coffee is good for you.  The discussion only concerns the degree to which it will harm you”.  Interesting.

It Causes Chronic Digestive Problems

Caffeine lowers the stress threshold of our bodies so that the events we would normally handle suddenly become insurmountable.  Because of this, coffee consumption is a major contributor to bloating, pain and gas that roughly 50% of Americans adults experience after they eat.

It Leads to “Caffeinism” Which Is Very Serious

In large amounts, and especially over extended periods of time, caffeine can lead to a condition known as caffeinism.  Caffeinism is defined on Wikipedia as: “combining caffeine dependency with a wide range of unpleasant physical and mental conditions including nervousness, irritability, anxiety, tremulousness, muscle twitching, insomnia, headaches, respiratory alkalosis and heart palpitations”.

Furthermore, because caffeine increases the production of stomach acid, high usage over time can lead to peptic ulcers, erosive esophagitis, and gastroesophageal reflux disease.

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With all this said, nearly 100 million American adults drink three or more cups of coffee a day.  But does that make it right?  Consider that sometimes we make decisions in our lives based NOT upon what is real, but upon habit, or upon what other people want us to think.

If five million people do a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing”  –Ancient Chinese Proverb

Here are a few more myths about caffeine, effectively debunked:

Caffeine Gives You Energy

  • Caffeine does not provide energy, only chemical stimulation.  The perceived “energy” comes from the body’s struggle to adapt to increased blood levels to stress hormones. 

Caffeine Gives You a Lift

  • Using coffee for mood enhancement is a short-term blessing and a long-term curse.  While the initial adrenal stimulation may provide a transient antifatigue “lift”, caffeine’s ultimate mood effect is a letdown, either subtle or profound.

Caffeine Sharpens Your Mind

  • While caffeine users may feel more alert, the experience is simply one of increased sensory and motor activity (dilated pupils, increased heart rate, and higher blood pressure).  The quality of thought and recall is improved no more than the quality of music is improved when played at a higher volume or speed!

In all, caffeine is substance that purports to give you energy by stimulating your nervous system.  But it really isn’t giving you anything, and is in fact harming you!  That’s because caffeine creates tension, and the ultimate result of tension is always fatigue.

So how can you start “getting off” caffeine?  There are a million and one ways to do this, and I plan on writing a follow-up article on this subject within the next week.  Here are

online pharmacy

some basic suggestions you can start with right away:

SUGGESTIONS

- Brew your coffee with 50% decaf

- Switch to an herbal tea, herbal coffee or another caffeine alternative

- Get a smaller coffee mug

- Spill half of your favorite Starbucks concoction out, before you start drinking it

- Make your coffee weaker by adding more milk

- If you must drink coffee, have it after eating a big meal (preferably after lunch)

- Start eating foods high in minerals

- Try Gingko Biloba

- Drink more water

- Do not drink coffee first thing in the morning

- Do not drink coffee before you go to bed

- Try coffee substitutes

- Drink less potent caffeinated drink

I hope this article was informative, and opened your eyes to some of the very real dangers of continuous caffeine consumption.  Look for a second article next week which goes into some more detail about how to weed yourself off caffeine, or better yet, please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment field below!

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108 Responses to “Coffee Drinkers Beware: Facts About Caffeine You Did Not Know”

  1. I don’t drink coffee or other drinks with caffeine, but I have read some reports about positive benefits. Since I don’t use the stuff I don’t remember the details. :) If I come across another article I’ll tell you about it.

    That said, we have two funny stories about caffeine. The first is about my daughter coming home to visit and getting fierce headaches. We didn’t know if it was the altitude here (we live in the mountains) or if she allergic to something or what. She finally realized she always drank a lot of coffee to help her get everything done before her visit. She was suffering from caffeine withdrawal.

    Another was my husband getting headaches every day. We finally figured out that innocent looking Nesbitt’s orange soda he was drinking had caffeine in it. He, too, was suffering from caffeine withdrawal. We now read labels very carefully. Thanks for reminding me of those stories and for the chuckle.

  2. Todd says:

    Wow, thanks for the great tidbits Jean– those are some interesting stories and I guess the people in your family REALLY shouldn’t having too much caffeine!

  3. Great post! I have given up coffee for exactly those reasons. I started looking for alternatives. I wrote about this is my blog post called, 10 Great Healthy Energy Boosters (other than coffee or caffeine pills). You can read it here:

    http://www.360degreesuccess.com/general/10-great-healthy-energy-boosters-other-than-coffee-or-caffeine-pills/

    I also have really been enjoying another coffee substitute called “Raja’s Cup” which is full of antioxidants.

  4. Todd says:

    Thanks for the info David, and those are some great suggestions for how to “get off” coffee….great work!

  5. Kevin says:

    Wow–I had no idea!

    I don’t drink coffee but I do drink soft drinks from time to time. Guess I have another reason to cut back!

  6. swag says:

    Yes, let’s worry ourselves to death and get all paranoid over a beverage that humans have safely consumed in moderation with over 500 years of evidence backing it up. I miss the days when we all used to freak out whether our new cell phones were going to give us brain cancer or not… wish they also went on for another 490 years.

    So Chicken Littles, find ways you can turn everyday items of consumptions into death. It will at least keep your focus from such petty things like a varied healthy diet, exercise, proper sleep, consuming other things in moderation, etc.

    • Muggle says:

      I agree with you swag!

      • Arthur says:

        I applaud this article. In a sea of misdirection of the truth in order to sell products of support political repression of the masses, these types of articles get too little visibility or even credibility. My ‘however’ is the audience they serve, and possibly add to world misery rather than lift it.

        Noticing most responses are people who do not drink coffee or are already aware of the negative benefits. Is the target of these nay sayer sites just to preach to the choir? Do these then feed those who are addicted to nay saying? Those who are so vulnerable to the misery causing effects of living with “Freedoms From” rather than enjoying life.

        Yet they are right. Enjoying life has become a mine field. But does making us more miserable by adding to the hopelessness of living a quality life ultimately make life worse for us all? Politicians and most large companies do twist the truth and only care about enriching themselves. Creating an industry of hired liars to pervert the truth. So we are stuck between “meaning well” and Meaning unwell”, all of which reduce or quality of life. Leaving us walking a dark valley with only the light of our own being to guide us. Those of us in this small group who support a true quality of life, are the last of our kind. Once our tiny light goes out we leave the world to the destroyers of life who mean well or mean ill, who both contribute to making life … less enjoyable.

        We need two things. One: Discover a way for those truly interested in the truth to be welcomed into that community and be assured of honesty while traveling a happy, healthful path through their lives. Two: Lifting people up to walk that path joyfully and not live in fear and depression over the world we live it. It’s the greatest place we could live in. Let’s celebrate it. Negativity and the search for it should be relegated to history books where we can laugh at such a past.

        – Lover of Life

  7. SootheSayer says:

    What do you say, Shall we shoot the messenger?

    Ha!

  8. That’s funny. I remember reading plenty of times that coffee helps in preventing certain illnesses. Isn’t caffeine also present in tea? This actually reminds me of a documentary of sorts on tv. It featured a doctor who smoked and claimed that there is no direct correlation between smoking and the negative effect it claims to have on bodies.

  9. Sheila says:

    Coffee puts the system under the strain of metabolizing a deadly acid-forming drug, depositing its insoluble cellulose, which cements the wall of the liver, causing this vital organ to swell to twice its proper size. In addition, coffee is heavily sprayed. (Ninety-two pesticides are applied to its leaves.) Diuretic properties of caffeine cause potassium and other minerals to be flushed from the body.

    All this fear went away when I quit, and it was a book that inspired me to do it called The Truth About Caffeine by Marina Kushner. There are five things I liked about this book:

    1) It details–thoroughly–the ways in which caffeine may damage your health.

    2) It reveals the damage that coffee does to the environment. Specifically, coffee was once grown in the shade, so that trees were left in place. Then sun coffee was introduced, allowing greater yields but contributing to the destruction of rain forests. I haven’t seen this mentioned anywhere else.

    3) It explains how best to go off coffee. This is important. If you try cold turkey, as most people probably do, the withdrawal symptoms will likely drive you right back to coffee.

    4) Helped me find a great resource for the latest studies at CaffeineAwareness.org

    5) Also, if you drink decaf you won’t want to miss this special free report on the dangers of decaf available at http://www.soyfee.com

  10. Jason says:

    I don’t drink coffee (I have a mild allergy), but I have at various times consumed massive amounts of caffeine. I’ve gotten a few of the side effects mentioned, but I stopped drinking all that soda, and they have gone away.

    I have another interesting fact to share with you: Some of the side effects blamed on caffeine withdrawal, if it comes from diet soda, can actually result from withdrawal from the artificial sweetener (particularly aspartame).

    Also, if you’re looking for something to help you get through the day, try replacing caffeine with ginseng… for me, it makes me less tired with 0 side effects (though I’ve heard one other person saying ginseng makes them jittery).

  11. Peter says:

    But but but…. I love my coffee!

    Actually I just have a cup when I first wake up. After that it is tea – either green or camomile. I tried giving the cup I have first thing but that didn’t work for me. BUT, giving up drinking coffee through out the day has made a huge difference.

  12. Alex Gerace says:

    What about green/black teas with caffeine? Do they fall in the same category as coffee, or is the level of caffeine small enough to be much safer than coffee?

  13. Ive been a coffee drinker my entire life and still love it although lately Ive cut down a lot since I started taking a liquid multi vitamin with minerals. It seems to give me energy (probably the B vitamins) and gets me going all day.
    Thanks for your post,
    Tom

    • Mat says:

      Good information, but you have a couple of facts wrong here and left out some very good/valid scientific information.

      1. There have been MANY studies, not none, that show positive correlations. I am a scientist, and I currently work in a metabolimics lab, and have a close friend who works with Paul Nghiem working on skin cancer. He showed that people who drink 2-4 cups of coffee a day have a significantly lower risk of getting skin cancer. This is due to the anti-inflammatory response to caffeine. The less inflammatory/skin destroying response you have, the less DNA gets damaged when one is sunburned, and thus a much lower risk of cancer.

      2. Moderate intake of caffeine reduces your risk for colorectal cancer. When you ingest the caffeine, several enzymes metabolize it into excretable compounds, one of these enzymes is N-acetyltransferase 2. The more caffeine you consume, the more this enzyme is made. This is good because this enzyme also catalyzes the breakdown of reactive phenolic compounds we consume that typically cause colon cancer. (phenols are acidic, just like caffeine, so the more enzymes you have to break them down, the the less likely your blood will reach a harmful acidic level. You can look up any NAT-2 cancer study and it will tell you more information than you will ever want to know.

      3. A psychological study I just read (I’ve forgotten the author I apologize) showed that women who drank 3-5 cups of brewed coffee a day in the winter were much less likely to suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder). This makes perfect sense because caffeine causes the release/stimulation of Dopamine, which is the “feel good, happy” neurotransmitter.

      4. The fact that caffeine is an herbicide is irrelevant. Plants make compounds for their own reason, and we consume them for our own reason. The fact that plants use caffeine to ward off predators does not inherently make caffeine bad for us. Take bananas, they secrete giberellins to induce ripening, yet we like giberrellins because they are what provide the taste and the smell to bananas.

      5. Caffeine has also been linked to reducing the aging process. This is for the same reason as reducing colon cancer. Increasing the enzymes that metabolize reactive compounds reduces the amount of cell/DNA damage, thus less aging.

      I have read probably about 200 scientific research papers on caffeine, and my conclusion is this: Consuming 1-4 cups of coffee or tea (not energy drinks or sodas) is GOOD for you, so long as you stay hydrated, and do not use caffeine as a crutch to get less sleep, less sleep is bad.

      Just as a final note, don’t rely on wikipedia for ANYTHING controversial. If you want to learn about this stuff, get on pub-med/google scholar and start scouring over countless papers.

  14. Todd says:

    GUYS and GALS– thanks for all the great response to this article. I am glad it started an interesting conversation. I would first like to address swag’c comment:

    “let’s worry ourselves to death and get all paranoid over a beverage that humans have safely consumed in moderation with over 500 years of evidence backing it up”

    In a sense, I agree with you. But caffeine really is dangerous to our health, no matter if it has been part of the human diet for 500 years or not. Coca Cola used to have cocaine in it in the early 1920′s. Does that make it OK?

    Next, a few of you asked about caffeine in tea and from other sources. The reason I mention coffee so much in this article is that coffee contains a much more potent dose of caffeine than other drinks. But the bottom line is that caffeine can be harmful, no matter what the source.

    So, I am sorry to report that the caffeine you get from your green or black tea can cause the same ailments as the caffeine found in coffee.

    I hope this helps!!
    Todd

    And ps, PLEASE don’t shoot the messenger!

    • SingleEspresso2GreenTeaDaily says:

      Actually Todd, there is an additional enzyme present in Tea which helps to counteract the extreme properties of caffeine. As I research the effects of caffeineon backpain, lying here in bed, I don’t recall the specific, but please feel free to look it up.
      Cheers!

  15. [...] Coffee to me is an energy booster or relaxation (think of Starbucks). I used to drink it everyday, that’s my first drink in the morning and sometimes when I have to work overnight, that’ll be my power liquid. It doesn’t suprise me to get advice not to drink before sleep because that’s very common but what really shocked me is that it goes the same in the morning too. You can read it here. [...]

  16. Irma Gámez says:

    I prefer organic coffee. It´s healthy, soft and it has a great aroma.

  17. [...] Day Trial:  For the next week, eat NO carbs in the morning.  Also limit, or stop completely, caffeine intake.  You might feel drowsy for the first few days…realize this feeling is literally a withdrawal [...]

  18. Sadie says:

    I quit drinking coffee about 3 weeks ago. I never drank pop or tea, so they were never an issue. I did experience the most horrendous headaches for a couple of days, in withdrawal, but one thing amazed me–(I’ve never heard of this happening with anyone else but then, I might be weird): my back stopped hurting.

    For years I suffered from insomnia and back pain. Within the past six months (at least), I avoided sleep on purpose because I always woke up throughout the night with back pain and in the mornings I could barely move. It took at least an hour of sitting up before it would subside enough for me to get dressed.

    The first night I quit coffee, I slept through, without waking up once from back pain and the next morning when I woke up I couldn’t believe it; no pain at all. I’ve been 90% back-pain-free since. Amazing.

    I’ve slept more these past 3 weeks than I have since I was a kid (I started drinking coffee I was 13).

    I was not aware of the technical or scientific reasons for this. Like the blind man, all I knew was that once my back hurt and now it didn’t!

    I have also experienced the sharper thinking that was mentioned as a benefit of quitting, loss of the flight or fight reflex and tension. I didn’t realize why coffee seemed to give me energy; now I do and it’s creepy to think of it.

    I never was “worried to death” as Swag put it…but I’m glad for articles like this that give us heads-ups about things like caffeine and what they are doing to our bodies.

    In ignorance I consumed something for far too long that I am very glad I’ve quit.

    • Jolly Joe says:

      Back pain is because you are constipated; the coffee acts a strong diuretic. Increase fiber (fruit, oatmeal etc.)

      • Meredith says:

        I had the exact same experience as Sadie!

        Terrible back pain and stiffness every morning for 1-1/2 years.
        I thought I had ankylosing spondylitis.

        I quit coffee and two days later, my back pain and stiffness was basically gone.
        I’ve now been essentially pain free for over a year.

        It must be a unique hypersensitivity, but this stopping coffee has changed my life!

        • Curt says:

          I started drinking coffee at the age of 33 in 2000, and came down with horrible back pain around the same time, putting me in the emergency room once. Unfortunately, it took FIVE YEARS to discover the cause, as the pain didn’t occur until 2 days after drinking the coffee, and also it was only one cup per week. In 2005, I made the connection, stopped the coffee, became pain free and started riding dirt bikes.

          • Ncik says:

            After suffering from back pain for years, my homeopath finally awakened me to the caffeine / back pain relationship. After quitting all caffeine from my diet my back is back to normal – is truly amazing. Have gone back onto the caffeine to test, and sure enough the muscular back pain returns. Is definitely some link and its not related to constipation (although this is a side effect of caffeine). Needless to say am now caffeine free without muscular back pains. Am quite surprised how little info there is on the net about this.

            SPREAD THE WORD!

  19. Sadie says:

    I quit drinking coffee about 3 weeks ago. I never drank pop or tea, so they were never an issue. I did experience the most horrendous headaches for a couple of days, in withdrawal, but one thing amazed me–(I’ve never heard of this happening with anyone else but then, I might be weird): my back stopped hurting.

    For years I suffered from insomnia and back pain. Within the past six months (at least), I avoided sleep on purpose because I always woke up throughout the night with back pain and in the mornings I could barely move. It took at least an hour of sitting up before it would subside enough for me to get dressed.

    The first night I quit coffee, I slept through, without waking up once from back pain and the next morning when I woke up I couldn’t believe it; no pain at all. I’ve been 90% back-pain-free since. Amazing.

    I’ve slept more these past 3 weeks than I have since I was a kid (I started drinking coffee when I was 13).

    I was not aware of the technical or scientific reasons for this. Like the blind man, all I knew was that once my back hurt and now it didn’t!

    I have also experienced the sharper thinking that was mentioned as a benefit of quitting, loss of the flight or fight reflex and tension. I didn’t realize why coffee seemed to give me energy; now I do and it’s creepy to think of it.

    I never was “worried to death” as Swag put it…but I’m glad for articles like this that give us heads-ups about things like caffeine and what they are doing to our bodies.

    In ignorance I consumed something for far too long that I am very glad I’ve quit.

  20. Todd says:

    wow Sadie, that is some story…I am glad you “kicked it”. Good for you! Awareness and action are everything…
    Todd

  21. CP says:

    Todd, I quit caffeine last september. Since then, I have been very unmotivated and depressed. Many people have reported these symptoms, but typically for only a few months. I started counseling, but the counselor doesn’t have any suggestions except to put me on anti-depressants. But how is getting on anti-depressants any better than being on caffeine?

    So here’s my question to you: Do most people have these symptoms? How long did it take for them to go away? What do they do, if anything, to make them go away faster? Thanks for your article.

  22. PC says:

    CP and Sadie:
    I quit coffee two weeks ago.
    Two days of mild headaches, not as bad as I thought it would be.
    Day three-five, surprising muscle soreness, in lower back region. Went away.
    However, a different specific back pain I had been suffering for three months seems to have gone away! Very pleased!

    I’m in an unmotivated/depressed phase right now. Not unusual, I had started coffee a decade ago to self-treat this sort of thing. I quit as an experiment to end some chronic fatigue.

    Looking forward to miracles, but have to ride this out. It probably takes a long time to readjust, some say six months to two years. After a ten year habit, I’m not surprised. When I think of going back I think: I don’t want to have to go through those first two days again.

  23. elu says:

    CP- dont give up!!

  24. gejos says:

    i recently went off coffee and soda myself cold turkey because of a ‘heart scare’ wake-up call, had the dreaded headache for three days, and i am doing very well. i was previously taking antideppressants that i quit because i felt very keyed up…i now suspect this was the caffiene all along. but anyway, cp, i began taking st. john’s wort for the depression and it is working very well with zero side effects! it’s important to look at the big picture, sometimes there are other things going on, but if the depression doesn’t lift i would go back to the java, everyone is different, maybe that is your antidepressant, but i’d sure give the st. john’s wort a go first!

  25. I have been a coffee drinker for at least 25 years, 2 mugs (32 ounces) every day. I developed a tremor in my right hand and leg. I’m on my foourth day of no coffee. I still have the tremor. How long does it take caffeine to be completely out of the system after eliminating coffee from my diet?

  26. [...] So I read it and go, uh-huh. It might work, yes it might. In that article is a link to another article: Facts about caffeine you didn’t know [...]

  27. O.Z. Kamara says:

    Mom, why didnt you ask me this question. I could find you the answer. Are you hiding things from your son?

  28. lizzie says:

    this should open a lot of minds, including my 11 year old son, whose hard-head re: coffee. thanks for the info. by the way above website is his blog. please come by

  29. Matt says:

    this essay has not one shred of evidence or article linking to any research except Wikipedia. There are tons of benefits to coffee, including reducing heart disease, diabetes, tons of antioxidants, regulating metabolism, reducing cavities, and on and on and on

    http://men.webmd.com/features/coffee-new-health-food

  30. I’m addicted to coffee. I have to have it. I now have a tremor in my left hand. At first it was just in the right. I know it’s the coffee.

  31. peter says:

    I suffer from back-pain for years and been a heavy coffee drinker – more than 7 cups a day.
    i went through discotomy on my lower back four years ago.
    In the last 3 month the pain has returned.
    I switched to decaff since than, but can’t tell any difference,some say caffeine is a nerve stimunlant, other say is a relaxtant.
    God knows.

  32. Shara Brennan says:

    Hi I live in Italy so famous for its coffee and everyone looks so tired and lacking energy all the time. I drink on average 2 cups of Americano size coffe per day. I think after reading your comments I shall cut down to 1 cup. Do you think that helps significantly? I guess organic would eliminate the pesticide problem wouldn’t it? My basic motivation comes from wanting more personal energy, i’m also vegetarian so I really want to have a healtheir diet.

  33. Todd says:

    YES Shara, I think that helps a LOT! And YES about organic coffee too!
    Todd

  34. Peta says:

    Hi, I gave up drinking coffee in late December 2008. (usually I would drink at least 5 cups of instant coffee a day) I have suffered from chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, severe lower back pain (worse in the morning) and depression for approx. 14 years. I have had many many blood tests done over the years, all came back with results that there was nothing wrong.

    These symptoms ALL started just after I became a coffee drinker(had always drank tea). Of course I thought that it was just coincidence, “How could coffee cause all these symptoms.” What a ridiculous notion. Everybody drinks coffee and they are fine.

    Since I stopped drinking coffee my energy levels are up by about 85%, I no longer have debilitating depression ( have reduced medication by 70%) and no back pain at all!!!

    I was thinking that perhaps this was all coincidence until last week when I drank probably 5 cups of coffee a day for 3 days ( because I really do love it! lol) and the back pain returned!!!! Stopped drinking coffee again and the pain has gone. So for me the evidence is
    pretty conclusive.

    I am just sad that it has taken 14 years of feeling like hell for me to find the problem.

    • SAM62 says:

      Peta – this is an old post, but I’ll post anyway. I, too, drank 2-3 doppio espresso’s per day, for most of my life – had terrible lower right back pain (I thought it was excersise and age) – esp in the AM and at the gym, after. I gave up coffee/caffeine ~10 days ago, cold turkey, and my back pain is completely gone. I had some ugly withdrawl symptoms, too, for almost 5 days. My BP was sometimes 169/104 etc. and now it’s 117/82, almost daily. I had NO idea that coffee could affect me this badly. Just like another person said, it’s such a normal and accepted part of peoples lives, that one doesn’t suspect this stuff is a sort of poison, in extreme.

      • Meredith says:

        I’m amazed to hear all these accounts of coffee causing back pain and stiffness.
        It was true for me, too – I quit coffee and my debilitating back stiffness vanished
        after suffering for 1-1/2 years (in the morning it was so bad I couldn’t put my
        socks on!). This was a year ago.
        Restarted coffee this summer and my back pain and stiffness returned.
        It’s truly amazing, and such a bummer at the same time because I like coffee so
        much! I’d like to know more about the science of this – it seems so anectodal –
        it must have to do with individual physiology or sensitivity.

  35. AZ says:

    Have had an on-again, off-again fling with caffeine. Some new tea/coffee or beverage label touts wonderful benefits by drinking it, and I will try it, (Or maybe I was just having a slow day..) only to be disappointed by the effects of the caffeine later that day. (Sore back, withdrawl, etc). I’m glad this article reaffirms my beliefs and reading it will help me make better choices int he future.

    For those of you who are interested in removing excess caffeine from the liver, Sodium Thiosulfate has been found to bond to caffeine clogging the liver (as well as excess heavy metals and chlorine), and safely transport it out of the body. (Not harmful in anyway.) The website below contains tons of wonderful remedies and user submitted stories, as well as more information about Sodium Thiosulfate.

    Ultimately, it is each individuals decision to wether or not to try natural remedies, but I decided too, and it’s been great.

    Also, I strongly agree that St. Johns Wort will help with the depression induced from the withdrawl effects.

    Sam-E (S-Adenosyl Methionine) is very good for improved liver function, joint pains and mood stability, in my experience.

    Good luck getting away from Americas most widely used addictive substance. :D

  36. Todd says:

    THANKS AZ, great comments and I totally agree about St Johns Wort and Sodium Thiosulfate.
    Thanks for bringing this to my readers attention!
    Todd

  37. Mrsfleming says:

    I used to be addicted to coffee, I used to drink coffee on an empty stomach because I was hungry. I then started to feel like i was crazy. I then stopped drinking it after six months. Because I used to 4 to 5 cups a day 4 times a day. How long will it take to go away, it has been three months since i stopped drinking coffee. How much longer will it be, because i have been feeling anixious andi have never felt like this before. I used to be bubbly. But now im always tired. Is it the withdrawal. Again how long will this take?

  38. Rowan says:

    Well, this discussion has been an eye opener.
    I have been ‘addicted’ to caffeine for several years, probably more. After several attempts to quit, with headache blaring, I was back on the coffee, tea and ‘cola’ in no time at all.
    An orthopedic surgeon told me that caffeine is bad for me, that I was starving myself of nutrition and this would be contributing to my back pain-thanks Doc!! It took me another year to finally get the guts up to wean myself off caffeine for good.
    That was 6 DAYS ago. I was impatient and literally went ‘cold turkey’. Yes, the headache was bad,bad, bad, and I felt sick and Very tired. On the 3rd day, I slept the whole night through and woke up with hardly any back pain…I couldnt believe it!!!!!Was I dreaming???? Well my back still twinges now and then, I am in a better mood, I dont use the toilet as much(up to 10 times a day before), I sleep well, and am pleased with myself for finally doing the right thing by my body.
    I drink a herbal tea called ‘dandelion root blend’ and although I am not keen on it, I am acquring a taste for it.Plain water has become a favoured drink aswell. I was out with friends yesterday, and as they slurpped on their double cappaccinos, I had a weak decaff tea. They didnt blink an eyelid, so I am not worried about my decision, as it hasn’t affected my social life. Although I had a cup of decaff tea, it didnt temp me to get back on the caffeine wagon- I thought that a very positive sign…
    “It’s all good” I say to myself, I feel like a new woman.

  39. alicia says:

    While I agree that caffeine in large doses all the time is not good for you, it does have known medical benefits. I’m asthmatic and when I’ve had the terrible occasion to begin suffering an attack and could not find my medicine – drinking a bottle of coke was all I needed to calm my breathing enough that I didn’t have to make a trip to the E.R., only one to the pharmacy to refill my prescription.

  40. Яков says:

    Просто прекрасно – очень интересные мысли. Разжевано специально как будто бы для меня :)

  41. But coffee is soooo good. Anyway, I agree that it is not good for us, but nothing these days is. Most people just can’t live a pure vegetarian, no coffee, no smoking, no sex lifestyle. We all can’t be monks.

  42. Ashley says:

    Everyone will have their own opinions on this matter and the benefits versus the health detriments will vary from person to person. Personally i do not even like coffee, but i am encouraged by my family and physicians to drink the drug for my ADD symptoms i suffer from everyday.

    this past year at college I drank it the moment i woke up at 7am and went directly to the gym and was able to concentrate on school work much easier… when i would go home for breaks i would stop drinking it and my ADD would become intolerable. While home for the summer I stopped drinking coffee and i became much less productive. There are many things my inconsistency could be due to, but I believe that my morning stimulant proves to be a defining factor.

    I also believe while i was drinking coffee, it helped stabilize my weight. Drinking coffee before working out allows for fatty acids to increase in an individuals blood stream allowing for fat to be used as a source of energy while being active. I definitely was burning a lot more fat during my early morning routines. Overall coffee make my days much more productive in my opinion.

    im an advocate for coffee!

  43. So glad I Googled “caffeine and back pain” and found this blog. I can’t believe (and everybody I tell can’t believe it either) that coffee could cause back pain, but I’m going to decaffeinate (sp?) again in an attempt to get rid of this pain, which I’ve become convinced is diet related. When I was on Doug Kaufmann’s Phase 1 anti-fungal diet, I felt so much better and was really “zippy”. I went off it, got to feeling bad but thought, I’ll go back on it but I still want to drink coffee. I still feel terrible, so, I think it MUST be the caffeine. I’m going to see how much better just being without coffee makes me feel before I go completely back on the diet – this is my control period. I’ll bet I’ll be better in a few days. Which is kind of sad because I LOVE coffee. Why are so many of the things we love so bad for us?

  44. Valerie Coe says:

    For a couple of years I suffered terrible lower back pain. I would wake up in pain and could hardly get up. I quit drinking coffee about 2 months ago and the back pain is gone. Life is great again.

    • rich says:

      Exactly the same story for me,except i suffered for 14 years with lower back pain.I now drink green and white tea as a substitute, two or three cups a day. I must say the back pain has completely gone and i’m feeling calm and centered with an erg to get my body even more healthy,which is something i havn’t felt in years

  45. Emrah Ü says:

    @Pamela Bonham:
    Coffee and pack pains, it’s about the quality of sleep. I had the same problem. Even when you’re asleep, your brain keeps sending pulses to your back muscles and these muscles can’t rest well. Lactic acid accummulates until you wake up. That’s the reason.
    In my case, I didn’t quit coffee completely because of this. I just reduced my daily caffeine intake by not drinking afternoons at work. Now the situation is just fine, even if I have an espresso before I go to sleep.

  46. Mbloomer04 says:

    “Spill half of your favorite Starbucks concoction out, before you start drinking it”

    your kidding me right? have you seen the price of that stuff? just buy a smaller coffee…

  47. Girisha Puttaswamy says:

    I used to get terrible back pain while I was drinking coffee. I think caffeine interferes with calcium absorption causing back pain. I have not done any research on this but the way I discovered it was that when I started taking calcium supplement while drinking coffee my back pain was manageable.

  48. Tom Denning says:

    I have been drinking coffee for over 40 years and have experienced the night time/morning lower back pains. The pains were more severe about an hour before getting out of be. They were so severe that it was hard to get out of bed and get dressed. I had this cold and coffee just started tasting crappy. I took up drinking teas (decaf) and since then (two weeks), I have had no back pains. I have stopped (yes – went through the headache withdrwal) drinking coffee and avoid products with caffeine. I didn’t discover this through your blog, but rather from a simple cold. Your site confirms my problems associated with coffee/caffeine. Thank you for sharing!

  49. CG says:

    I have been a coffee drinker for 10 years at times consuming more and at times consuming less. I actually love coffee! In my opinion however I think there can be some positive benefits to reducing your caffeine intake. First off, one benefit I have experienced is that at the end of the day I find I have more “calm energy” and I am not completely worn out. Worried about a mental drop during the day? My suggestion is to try an herbal like Ginko-Smart (lots more than just Ginko) and/or different teas, perhaps 5 hour energy without caffeine. You will have to get used to not having that caffeine rush, but if you consume a lot of caffeine the benefits should outway the costs. I think for some caffeine sensitive people, the health benefits can be pretty negative. Try googling for “adrenal fatigue.” Lot of interesting articles. If you love coffee like I do, cut it down to one cup of organic coffee a day… enjoy it and move on, you’ll get the best of both worlds. You may even find you enjoy your coffee even more! p.s. Watch out for SB coffee! It’s great, but is loaded with caffeine and could have more than twice what home brewed coffee can have. Check the website… a small coffee = approx. the caffeine in 5 Cokes!

  50. Chris says:

    Stephen A Cherniske, MS is a quack who works for the vitamin supplement industry. He has been described as a biochemist, nutritionist, medical writer, and “one of the leading anti-aging authorities though his masters degree was obtained from Columbia Pacific University, a college that was shut down by a California Court and The National Academy of Research Biochemists (NARB), which he is a member, is a professional-sounding organization whose only requirement for membership is payment of a fee. It is one of several that anyone can join in order to get a professional-looking “credential” to hang on the wall. Think about where your information comes from people! The internet has tons of information and tons of mis-information. The simple fact is that there is a wealth of studies regarding the positive attributes of caffeine and coffee. This whole article shows how a mandatory basic high school chemistry and biology class is desperately needed in this country.

  51. Jody says:

    I have experienced lower back pain, sciatic nerve pain from my right hip down to my foot, and body aches especially in my legs after waking up in the morning. I just thought this was a part growing a bit older (I am 48). For about the past 3 months I would experience sciatic nerve pain after about 5–6 hours of sleep so severe that it would wake me up. I would toss and turn for the next hour or so trying to find a comfortable position to be able to sleep. Finally I would get up out of bed completely un-refreshed. Taking Ibuprofen was about the only way to relieve this pain. I have only been a coffee drinker for bout the last 8 years. My consumption had grown to about 24 oz. a day. I also drank 20-40 oz. of caffeinated soft drinks, both diet and regular about every day. This past weekend my wife mentioned an article she had read regarding caffeine and back pain. After so many sleepless nights I was to the point of giving anything a try. I cut back to one cup of coffee and have only had a few sips of a soft drink. I did experience some sluggishness and a headache the first couple of days when I tried to quit cold turkey. That is when I decided to limit myself to one cup of coffee in the morning. After only 2–3 days my sciatic pain was almost completely gone. I have slept better the past 3 nights than I have in months. I do not have the achy feeling in my body and legs when I got out of bed this morning either. Not sure if there is a scientific correlation or not, but I do know I feel 100% better.

    • troy says:

      I agree with Jody.

      If I drink Yerba Mate, I get sciatic pinching, stiffness in lower back, and general weakness due to the pain.

      For a while now, I have been drinking Cafe du Monde Coffee with chicory which seemed to be a better jolt with less pain.

      However, everything caught up and now I have quite both on several different occasions and the pain clears up in 2 to 3 days.

      It’s abundantly clear and really obscure too. I complained to my doctor and he said to do yoga. What a nut, as I already been there done that.

      the problem is that I tried to work out a pain by rolling on my back in a yoga way, and then I locked the spurs in my spine and had to take 1800 mg of advil for 3 days though the doctor prescribed for 2 weeks. Couldn’t stand it after 3 days.

  52. Beachball says:

    I am never going to quit. If I die from coffee I hope its listed as such in my obituary. Its even better with a schwill of baileys in it. ooohhh double death!

  53. Vivek says:

    Hi all after reading this article I am bit confused because I was doing some study over coffee and got it beneficiary in moderate consumption but after reading this article where every benefits converted into contrary I am little confused….
    and also for the reference I am giving few below links
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee#Health_and_pharmacology

    “studies suggest coffee consumption reduces the risk of being affected by Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, diabetes mellitus type 2, cirrhosis of the liver, and gout.”

    http://www.professorshouse.com/food-beverage/beverages/effects-of-coffee.aspx

    “caffeine can be used to help asthma patients because it works to dilate airways. Coffee also may be used as a treatment for constipation, and may protect against the pain of gallstones. A study done in 1999 showed a decreased risk of colon cancer in coffee drinkers compared with non-drinkers”

    can you suggest me anything regarding????

  54. Mark says:

    Wow! I was shocked to read that so many others were having back pain due to coffee. I drank 1-2 cups per day for years. I was working as a mechanic and ended up having to quit my job because of severe back pain. My doctor even had me go through therapy because it was so bad. Therapy helped very little. Several months later, I quit drinking coffee and replaced it with green tea for the health benefits of green tea. To my suprise, my back pain was almost completely gone in just a few days. I was curious if coffee was causing the back pain, so I drank one cup of it. That night and the next day my back hurt again. I don’t think that coffee was all of the problem with my back, but I believe it was greatly aggrivating a small injury. I now only have back problems when doing heavy lifting or standing for long periods.

  55. Truth Supporter says:

    Problems with articles like this are the blatant one sided nature of them. It’s one thing to argue overall that the effects of a chemical are detrimental, but to try and argue that it has no medical benefits or energy creating potential points out the obvious bias of the author and even worse, the likely lack of research the author has done into the potential benefits of caffeine. Anyone consider that Excedrin and many other pain relievers contain caffeine? Here’s why, btw…
    The primary application of caffeine supplementation in pain control has been as an analgesic adjuvant when combined with certain analgesic drugs. This practice is supported by a number of double-blind studies. One of these studies found the potentiating action of caffeine on acetaminophen-induced pain relief to be similar to that experienced when an analgesic with a peripheral action (such as acetaminophen) is combined with another with a central action, in this case dextroproxyphen. By combining the peripherally-acting analgesic with caffeine instead of a centrally-acting analgesic, the side effects of central analgesics (such as drowsiness, constipation and nausea) can be avoided.

    I’m not saying there isn’t significant truth behind many of the discussed detrimental aspects in this article. However, the fact that I can find such medical evidence in twenty seconds with a google search and the author didn’t bother to do so at all…shows the obvious bias and largely destroys the credibility of the author to be an unbiased, open and informative reporter.

  56. Hi,

    I wanted to say that I have been reading for a while and I would like to sign up for the feed. I’ll give it a try but I will need some help. This is a good find and I would hate to lose touch, and maybe never discover it again.

    Anyway, thanks again and I look forward to posting again sometime!

  57. One doesn’t have to give up their coffee! The worst part of coffee is the acid… I’ve found and have been drinking a low acid (yes, even if u have reflux u can enjoy it!!! most anyway!) reishi infused ‘healthier’ coffee…

    There are plenty of recent studies that coffee IS good for you… listen to your body… better yet, switch to gano cafe’ ! http://everybodydrinkscoffee.com … Mention this comment post & I’ll send u a free sample if you’re in the US.

    Cheers,
    Carrie

  58. ‘Ello! I surfed this article and found it to be pretty interesting but your HTML wouldn’t completely load. It only seemed to load about 50% of the page. Are you aware of this?

    Anywho, I don’t completely agree with all that I’ve read so far, but I’ll swing through later to see if everything is fixed to finish reading. Thanks again.

  59. Zol says:

    I thought that I would add my experience here as others have done, as it was their information that has prompted me to give up coffee. If my experience can help encourage others to try giving up coffee to alleviate their suffering then it was worth the short time it took to write this.

    I’ve been a very active person throughout my life and was a keen marathon runner, hiker, kayaker and cross country skier. I do not smoke, drink very little alcohol but have always enjoyed my coffee and sweets. My back pains started in my mid twenties with occasional crippling bouts that would leave me doubled over like a monkey dragging his knuckles on the ground. My GP told me to take some anti-inflammatory drugs and take it easy for the rest of my life. I didn’t take the drugs and I didn’t take it easy, but I did suffer.

    I tried chiropractic manipulation, acupuncture, physiotherapy, massage and back strengthening exercises. I also have an inversion table, which is OK after getting used to it, but none gave me any real relief. I have been taking natural white willow bark to suppress some of the pain. I’m now in my early sixties and have had to give up my running and white water kayaking about a year ago and substituted them with walking and cycling. A friend of mine told me some time ago that she also had back aches and after giving up drinking coffee, now no longer suffers. I really didn’t think too much of it as I felt that because I have been diagnosed with arthritis and only drank one cup of coffee a day, it wouldn’t make much difference to me. (I used to drink one generous cup of freshly brewed strong black coffee a day).

    This past year the pain has increased to the point that I felt that I would be wheel chair bound within 3 – 4 years, and after a particularly painful period I Googled about the relationship between coffee and back aches and I found this site, so I thought that I would try going without coffee for a couple of weeks to see if it would make a difference.

    Well, WOOHOO! After less than 1 week there is almost no pain. I don’t drag my knuckles on the ground anymore, I can almost bounce out of bed in the morning (I said “almost” as I am not a morning person). I have been doing menial maintenance work around the house which would have normally caused me grief almost straight away, but apart from stiff shoulder muscles, there is NO BACK PAIN!

    Whilst it is early days, I have not felt this good in years. I am now considering going back to running again, maybe not marathons but even a few kilometers would be great. So if anybody isn’t convinced that coffee is the cause of your pains, what have you got to loose by giving it up for a short period…except your pain?

  60. Jordan says:

    “There is NO Positive Science

    According to Mr. Cherniske: “No scientific study has ever shown that coffee is good for you. The discussion only concerns the degree to which it will harm you”. Interesting.”

    Apparently that isn’t the case. It can act as a pain reliever and it can make traditional pain relievers more effective.

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0ISW/is_258/ai_n8685951/

    http://www.ehow.com/about_5497517_caffeine-back-pain.html

    http://www.livestrong.com/article/340333-caffeine-for-headache-pain-relief/

  61. Laurance says:

    So, as many previous from above have done, I have decided to payback/forward the knowledge which has proven to truly help me. I wanted to wait before rushing ahead to write my brief experience, as I felt enough time needed to pass before I could be truly objective. And again, as many above stated… if my story can make someone think twice about their morning cup (whether habitual or for sheer pleasure or both)… then I feel almost obligated to blurt it out. I’ll try to be concise, though, since it isn’t my strong suit.

    I have always been and active guy and I’m, currently, exactly 1 month from turning 40, but when I was 36 I started feeling a pain slowly creep in to a couple of different areas in my back. The pain wasn’t always there, but as time went on it would come to be — ALWAYS! Like a knot so tight that it couldn’t ever unravel. I kept WAL-MART stock in hot water bottles up, I know, because I had to resort to having one frozen in the freezer and one that I used each morning from hot kettle water. Massager? Many, and in constant use. NOTHING made this go away. For the longest time, I thought it was mental displacement… emotional anxiety and stress transforming itself into lasting pain. In the beginning, I, actually, tried to fool myself into believing that this is what it feels like to get old. I’m also a photographer and thought, perhaps, hauling equipment and diving on the ground to get the perfect shot had something to do with it. No matter what my dillusions of what I thought the cause to be, I NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS would have suspected coffee. The pain had been increasing and one day, by sheer circumstance, I got into a conversation with an old friend I was visiting that I have not seen in over a decade. He was the spark. This page of reader submissions was the fire. I didn’t go anywhere else but here… and in the end, I didn’t need to. As many people have said, “what do you have to lose?” Which is true… nothing, really. Perhaps, some headaches from caffeine withdrawl and a little panic over not having my precious coffee. I’ve been a barista in the past at two different places and have been an avid coffee drinker for twenty years, so — truth be told… I didn’t want ANY of this to be true (in a way), because I LOVE caffeine! BUT… after 3 weeks, there’s no denying that this was the culprit all along. It has been no less than a miracle for me, and i’m not a religious person, so I don’t throw the term around passively. It’s just incredible and I’m so relieved that it’s over. I’ve been doing a little reading on this and I think the “miracle” has to do with the constriction of blood vessels around the muscles and ligaments, etc. All of these components in your body need a steady flow of oxygen in order to function at the highest of levels. Caffeine (I guess, in some) constricts them too much… or maybe (through genetics)… they don’t have the greatest of blood flow anyway. None of this is concrete, but I’m, simply, trying to offer something constructive to spark thought… I could be off, but — either way — all I know is I now feel incredible and liberated for the first time in a LONG 4 YEARS!!!

    NOW… I’m not saying that caffeine doesn’t have it’s benefits for some people. it’s just that — for others — it doesn’t. In fact, it’s down-right detrimental. Such as mine. SO… big deal and a minor adjustment. I drink decaf now. So, the part above where I explained that I felt like an old man… well, I’ll gladly take the decaf/old man stigma if it means that I don’t have to live another day with that intolerable situation. Really, really hope this helps someone like it did me. I’m just blown away that this isn’t a more highly known phenom and it isn’t talked about. Either way, do yourself a favor and give it a try… you really have nothing to lose but the pain. And if it proves to change nothing at all, then go back and turn the cup up as much as you want.

    • DiGGa says:

      I just want to say. I suffer every morning with back pain. I’m from the hood and I dont have time to be fake. My life is too complicated to be sitting down reading or writing lies.

      This is what I did and going to do…

      First completed task: I read every posting from November 29, 2007 at 2:46 pm to the previous post in the middle of the morning by Lawrence January 21, 2011 at 12:01 am, which took up about 30 to 45 minutes of time i could be using productively. Time is of the essence to me because I have HiV and taking care of two disabled individuals, daily.
      My findings in this forum presented NO ONE that mentioned how stopping coffe “DID NOT WORK.”

      The only people that spoke “SideWays” were people talking about an individual that doesnt have proper credentials or something. However, my Main focus was to hear at least someone say it DID NOT WORK. There are NO MIXED RESULTS. Only one person said when switching to DECAF, their symptoms remained somewhat the same. (So maybe its Just Coffe… I dont know).

      Second… As a result to my findings, I’m going to drink my last cup today and give up coffee for the next two weeks, come back and post my results. You can follow me on FaceBook if you like at: http://www.facebook.com/thediggaone

      History… I have had exteme and almost crippling lower back paint from my wist to the tip end of my tail bone, with shooting pains through the back of my legs to my feet. Some days worst than others. Some days light pain no less than 4 on a scale from 1-10. I figured I injured myself in the gym but, I dont power lift. I’m almost 40 and weigh aproximated 160-165lbs. My pain is felt through the night, especially if i sleep on my stomach. Sleeping on my back and which relieves me of most pain is sooo uncomfortable but, I have to. I also deal with some muscle spasms in my upper back for no reason at times. Now my knuckles are starting to feel stiff in the mornings, slightly. I love the buzz from coffee because my HiV meds tend to weigh me down and I am an insomniac.

      I have had no medical treatment or diagnosis for my pain. I’m actually afraid to. As someone else mentioned, I’m in the stage of feeling like its a part of getting old. But, I have never been lazy; very active to a degree (run, weights, bike, walk). Arthritis does not exist in my family as I know of (dont know my mother’s family medical history). So lets see what happens.

      • kristi says:

        it sounds like you have a ruptured disk – all symptoms you described – i’ve been dealing with for over two years. it’s the most horrific pain – apparently, this kind of pain, from what i’ve read, is compared to a woman in massive labor — with NO pain relief. all i can say, is that i am truly sorry for you…for everyone who is hurting. i wouldn’t wish this torturous pain on my worst enemy. PRAY and try the best you can to keep your head up and FORCE yourself to get outside and walk – every day. it sounds horrific, but believe me – it helps. i’ve seen so many doctors and they all say the same thing, “walk, walk, walk…” even if you don’t feel like it. i had a failed back surgery a few months ago by one of the most known and respected surgeons in the country. it didn’t take…it didn’t work at all. the MRI showed my disc was actually worse than before i went in for the microscopic surgery. after i got home from the hospital, i was on the floor screaming. i couldn’t stand up. i couldn’t move. my doctor wanted me to come right back in to “re-do the surgery” yeah right!!! no way!!

        it has been such a long road for me. you just feel stuck – it’s awful. i have seen many amazing and well known surgeons here – they all say the same thing, “you need the spinal fusion and decompression – period.” i’m avoiding it at all costs. they say to “prepare myself” — that the fusion is one of the most painful surgeries with the slowest recovery time.

        try and take good care of yourself – all of you – remember to walk!!

    • banjo sue says:

      I am from the uk and have spent much time on the web trying to find out why coffeehas such a bad effect on my back and to a lesser extent my neck and shoulders knees and feet. I too was feeling like an old woman until I found the connection with coffee -couldn’t get comfortable in bed at night feet didn’t want to walk when I first got out of bed in the morning and I had to hobble down the stairs clutching the bannister.

      I first had a back problem after the birth of my daughter ( I had an epidural) but not until she was a few months old. I discovered the coffee connection purely by chance after an illness during which i did not fancy drinking coffee. As soon as I was better I went back to it and the back pain immediately returned. It was such a relief to find the cause but like you I was at a loss to know why it was not more widely known even the doctor and physio did not suggest any poss link.

      Now I looooove coffee – cappachino, tiramisu, coffee icecream, coffee and walnut cake are all my favourites- and they all affect my back the day after I have had any of them. Before I gave up I was already drinking only decaf so I think its the coffee itself not the caffein that’s the problem.

      But take heart all those of you out there in denial about how bad coffee is for you. About once a week I still have a proper cup of freshly brewed coffee with sugar and cream – its a real treat – the rest of the time I drink tea or water.

      • troy says:

        I agree with banjo sue.

        I would like to know if it is the xanthines ( theobromine or phyllamine )
        but that would mean chocolate makes the pain too.

        Maybe the caffeinaic acid ( antioxidant ) washes out the gut it’s beneficial bacteria ?

        Or just the caffeine ? hypertension pinching nerves.

        I really have a pinched sciatic, stiffness, etc. Almost too unreal for a 40 yo

  62. Lyn says:

    why did you say to “try Ginko”
    thx

  63. michael says:

    i quote a reply above: “The first night I quit coffee, I slept through, without waking up once from back pain and the next morning when I woke up I couldn’t believe it; no pain at all.”

    i quote that because, despite my intense (iNTENSE!) love of coffee, i must stop because i have noticed the same situation. i’ve had insomnia issues my entire life, plus herniated discs (L4 L5) that i’ve had to be very careful with.

    i switched from regular whole bean to organic when i noticed it was milder and had less of a ‘punch’, not referring to caffeine, but to kind of a shock to the body which i attribute to pesticides, growth chemicals, etc that i can feel.

    when i knock of coffee for a day or two every so often because i haven’t gotten around to making my normal whole bean cups, or just get tired of it for a day or so every so often, i’ve noticed my insomnia and back pain (i’m sure the insomnia exacerbates the back issue) did what the quote at the top of this reply states. it reduces dramatically.

    NOT claiming this will happen to everyone, or even many people…i know we all react differently to various additives, however, this back/insomnia thing happened to the other person replying, and definitely the same with me.

    sadly, i’m giving up something i love. but the hell of not sleeping all night, and the awful awful lower back pain, leaves me no choice. ironically, i do enjoy the calmer, cleaner, more relaxed state i’m in with no coffee…but i do miss drinking the stuff. oh well.

  64. Have you ever thought about including a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is important and everything. But imagine if you added some great graphics or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with pics and videos, this website could certainly be one of the best in its field. Awesome blog!

  65. Great blog here! after reading, i decide to buy a sleeping bag ASAP :)

  66. [...] post itself, Coffee Drinkers Beware, didn’t even mention back pain, but the main thread in the comment section included numerous [...]

  67. Kris says:

    “There is NO Positive Science”

    What you’re saying here is just not true.

    Coffee can massively decrease chances of type II diabetes, colorectal cancer and Parkinson’s.

    How about doing some research before you post something like this?

    http://www.kriskris.com/is-coffee-bad-for-you/

  68. Angie says:

    I do not believe that coffee is all bad for you, not at all. This oming from someone who drinks it all the time and stops all the time and has no side effects i sleep fine eat fine i run i talk i function just fine it doesnt give me energy its just another drink in my book it does nothing to me nor make me wired i drink it because it tastes good. Coffe is good for you in alot of ways i do believe that you need to go research more before you vpuy any more false scares on here for people to see and freak out about and over what?…. nothing and its not necessary life already has stress that we dont need like the price of living. Good Day!

  69. Gano Excel says:

    That’s why Gano only have 2 mg of caffeine per oz.

  70. Meredith says:

    As a coffee lover, I discovered that stopping caffeine had a miraculous effect on my back pain, too. A year and a half of suffering, my pain resolved in a few days of stopping coffee! I’m surrounded by coffee drinkers who have no back pain, so it must be a result of a person’s own physiology (like a drug side effect profile – only some people will experience the side effects and others will not). I miss my coffee but am so happy to be pain free!!

  71. Olivia says:

    Caffeine depletes the body of important minerals such as magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is rampant in our country from depleted soils because of modern practices of over farming the soil. Magnesium deficiency can cause back pain, depression, chronic fatigue, insomnia, etc. Google it. It’s actually a very simple explanation of why many people’s backpain has seemed to disappear after giving up coffee and nothing miraculous at all.

    • Perezident says:

      I must be an anomaly as my lower back pain is substantially relieved when i take caffeine pills – I can excercise and indulge in fluid stretching – also what can anyone tell me about the latest reports of caffeine as a healthful antioxidant?…

    • Nick says:

      Olivia, you are a life saver!

      I actually did establish the caffeine – back pain relationship and tested this many times, and this exists with no doubt in my mind, so I gave up caffeine based products all together. After learning about Magnesium, I began taking a high dose magnesium supplement (Blackmores Bio Magnesium) all my back pain disappeared and has stayed away even when a began to drink coffee again. Also gained a load of energy back. If you suffer muscle back problems definitely try Magnesium.

  72. mahmoud says:

    its good article and i love coffee

  73. Jimbo says:

    My 2 cents is that my back pain goes away when I quit coffee. I love my mornin joe, so sometimes I drink it anyway, knowing that the backs gonna be hurtin again. And when I go on a chocolate binge, same thing, the ol’ backs gonna be actin up again. Don’t know why, but it is definately not all in my head. The magnesium angle sounds intriguing, I think I’ll start taking it and see what happens.

    • Nick says:

      It seems caffeine does deplete the body of magnesium, after going on high dose magnesium supplement all my back pain went away (I noticed a difference after about a week) and was able to go back to enjoy my coffee again without any problems. Can’t recommend magnesium enough to those who have a similar problem. Am a little angry as to why all health professions I saw never recommended or even mentioned magnesium. On the other hand I am happy to have finally found and solved the root cause of my back pain – being low magnesium levels.

  74. Chris Brewer says:

    This article loses credibility with me because of some of its blatantly false claims. There has been a significant amount of research done on the benefits of drinking coffee. It’s well documented. The more honest approach would be to admit that there is a complicated mix of positive and negative effects that can occur when ingested.

    Most of the problems you bring up are directly related to caffeine and not coffee all together. What about decaffeinated coffee? This would probably negate all your statements about stimulant effects.

    Coffee is a natural, plant-based product which means it has many antioxidants. It has been demonstrated to provide the benefits that come from consuming anti-oxidents regularly.

    • marc says:

      The man who wrote this article is 100% right about coffee for a good part of the population. Some people have no problem with coffee. It is actually an adictive substance that if you are not careful can destroy your life. I learned that at 59 years old-it has been giving me low blood sugar since I was 16. Plus it provided so many ups and downs of energy and tension and anxiety that it has affected my mental and physical health for all these years. True I want to be like everyones else enjoying their morning perk, but I can’t anymore. thanks for your blog.

      • Chris says:

        You hit it right on the bulls eye, buddy. I am 36, and I couldn’t agree with you more in that it can destroy your life. It destroyed mine in many ways. I am still young though, so I have time to rebuild. I am going through the worst head pain right now with the withdraw of caffeine. I think it affects all people differently, but in the long run, it has negative returns by far. Food, exercise, vitamins, reading, laughing, talking with friends, and whole lot of other stuff is good. Oh, and don’t forget rest and sleep. Nothing has done more harm in my life than coffee, yet my body craves it more than anything. Something is not right about that picture.

        Anyway, I hope all of you find what works for you and after all is said and done, you are happy in life.

  75. Jeff says:

    I’d love to see sources for the claims of positive and negative effects of coffee. I found an interesting article on the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/05/health/05brod.html) that definitely would contradict many of these claims. Sadly, I do not see links to all the studies on this article though.

    • Chris says:

      It is so funny, I just read the article you provided. It’s like all the negative effects we’ve heard about coffee were just completely obliterated in a couple of paragraphs. My theory is that the majority of these people writing these articles and conducting this research are avid coffee drinkers. In other words, humans are arrogantly and unforgivably bias agents. People love coffee. It is a drug! Cocaine is a drug but it is unacceptable in society. But both act in similar fashion. Their stimulants and what they do is burn through all your energy sources (vitamins, proteins, collagen, brain power, etc.) at an unnatural rate and it feels great when you’re storage levels are adequate. In the long run, however, your body can’t keep up and then you overstress your body.
      I am not saying caffeine and cocaine are the same thing: I am saying they are similar. This article kind of makes me think this caffeine thing is a big conspiracy. If there was no problem with caffeine, then why all the hype. There are billions of milk drinkers–me included–but you don’t see so much focus on milk. Milk is not a drug! And if a “doctor” claims adverse effects in anything, I suggest you become suspicious immediately. Doctors don’t get paid if you’re healthy. They make money off of sick people.
      I think it is big business and caffeine is one of the worst things anyone could take on a regular basis, period.

  76. [...] 4. Coffee is a pesticide, “a naturally occurring compound found in the beans, leaves, and fruit of over 60 plants where it acts as a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding on the plants.” – http://www.wethechange.com [...]

  77. John says:

    Add me to the list! I injured my SI joint in September 2011 and have been dealing with some low back pain and lots of sciatica pain since. I’ve seen 2 PTs, 2 chiropractors, a sports medicine doc and a physiatrist and although I made some improvement (20-30%) I still had bad pain in the morning and after virtually any exercise. I read Stuart McGills books (Ultimate Back Fitness) and was extremely diligent with doing exercises and streches. This produced some improvement, but I was starting to accept that I would have chronic pain.
    About 3 weeks ago I stopped coffee and began taking a magnesium supplement (with calcium). My last coffee was on a Wednesday, I got a mild headache on Thursday, and Friday morning I noticed a significant change in my back pain but not so much my sciatica symptoms. Extreme lethargy on Friday (I work night shift) but I slept well afterwards. Sunday a very strange thing happened, I was woken up by somewhat painful sciatica symptoms in my “non-affected” leg. This pain subsided within a few hours but returned periodically over the next couple of days. This said to me that the coffee undoubtedly has some effect on nerve pain.

    While I am not 100% pain free (close though) I have an underlying structural issue that needs fixing. The effect of stopping coffee has had is unbelievable to me.

  78. Brains says:

    I drink Coffee for no other reason than I like the taste. Loathe the taste of decaf, and I’m afraid tea just doesn’t tickle my tastebuds the same way. That being said, I drink more tea than coffee.
    I think this is a very interesting forum to read. I understand both sides of the argument and support both too.
    To offer some input – while I can’t support or deny the claim that Caffeine prevents cavities, the acid stimulating aspect of caffeine in turn raises the pH of saliva causing cavities. Read that carefully, I’m saying the effect the caffeine has on other parts of the body causes the problem, not the caffeine itself.
    Also, no one can deny that caffeine is a diuretic. When the body is dehydrated the lining around the spinal cord (and other nerves for that matter) tightens, causing pain. That’s part of what causes the nauseating headache felt when you’re hung-over. Notice how you pee a lot when you’ve had a night on the booze? Hangover headache = dehyration. Coffee may perk you up a bit but you will crash even harder when the caffeine is out of your system.
    Now, drinking organic coffee won’t help much, aside from slightly reducing the added pesticides. Just cos your coffee is organic doesn’t mean it magically has had the “pesticide action” of the caffeine itself removed. It just means the beans were harvested from a farm that doesn’t spray the crop with nasty chemicals. And yes, cold, strong black coffee works wonders in the garden until the rain washes it off.

    I think everyone also needs to remember that each body is different. Sure, we all have the same basic chemical composition but it is our biochemical experiences that show how we individually react to things. For example, the herb Valerian wakes me up instead of sedating me the way red cordial stimulates a small child. I can feast on bananas and have no ill effect while my mother would be in hospital. I find in general, as long as I have had sufficient sleep, an adequate water intake for the day (note I said water and not fluid), have been eating a good balanced diet and haven’t spent all day every day sitting on my tukkus in front of a computer I feel good. Those days are rare though. If I ever have a day when I have done everything else right and everything comes unstuck when I have a cup of coffee or a soda in the afternoon then you’ll have me 100% converted. For now though, I’m happy to say that coffee isn’t the only thing that is going to make me feel rotten in a day so I’m willing to cop it on the chin and let my tastebuds have 10 mins of enjoyment mid morning.

  79. Diana says:

    I have to add my voice here. I am shocked. I stopped drinking coffee (still drink plenty of green tea) because of insomnia and anxiety. I never in a million years imagined that my YEARS long chronic neck pain, that had me taking ibuprofen constantly has practically resolved after 6 days sans coffee. I can feel that my neck muscles are loosening their tight tight grip.

    I have some disc degeneration and arthritis in my neck, so there is cause for pain, but I now feel I have an extra leg up in caring for my neck properly… because I have some RELIEF.

    • Coralie says:

      I recently decided to have a coffee each morning after breakfast to ‘get me going’. I was using Nescafe 50/50 green/roasted. I have finished up with severe pain in my calf muscles, it has made my knee arthritis worse, and also foot pain. I was also experiencing left back pain and soreness in muscles which i had an Xray for which showed nothing. I was also using Symbacort for cough and shortness of breath after the flu. I have begun to connect the coffee and the joint and muscle pain, and have not drunk it for the last couple of days, with the effect that the pain is now lessening. Does anyone else experience this type of thing with coffee drinking, or symbacort use. please.

  80. Mercy says:

    I found this blog about a week ago and having suffered a lower back problem for several years, promptly gave up. I was so excited as I have also so tried many modalities with limited lasting effects. But a week later I am stil very stiff in the morning an there isn’t a huge change. Has anyone else found that it took longer for the pain and stiffness to go?

  81. Vivon says:

    Well, for me, coffee makes me more sleepy especially if I drink it before I sleep at night, it has no effect on me, it doesn’t make me awake, weird but true.

  82. Peter says:

    I have been drinking up to ten cups of coffee a day, my son talked me into not drinking coffee four days ago. On day two, I noticed much less pain, now four days later very little pain, I can now work 10 hours a day, from 2 – 3 hours before.
    The difference was so great, that I did a Google search typing in ..Coffee pain…
    I see I am not the only one. My pain level has reduced from a 8 out 10 to about 2 out of 10. Which means I can work 10 hours now and have less pain then 2 – 3 hours with coffee. I am 63 years old, I hope I find my life again (Farming)

  83. SMH says:

    It’s so funny to read this article and the associated comments, especially if you understand chemistry, or just basic food science. My favorite part is how “acid” is negative because acids are… um… not good for you or something. As everyone knows, vinegar is toxic. And one lady’s comment about cellulose swelling the liver… No plant leaves for her, thank you very much! Vegetables and fruits can go screw themselves.

    Oh, I also love the “it’s not energy, it’s chemical stimulation” (i.e., it’s not energy, it’s chemical energy). Unless you’re trying to draw a distinction between energy in the form of raw fuel and a “kindling” that enables that raw fuel’s more efficient utilization, the statement is meaningless. And if you do mean to draw that distinction, it’s being dishonestly stated to fool stupid people. Don’t get me wrong, though, stupid people deserve to be fooled sometimes.

    I wonder, where are your sources? Could you cite a few meta-studies of caffeine’s effects? My familiarity with studies on the matter has been that they, in the aggregate, demonstrate reduced rates of cancer, better test scores, less clinical depression (in women), improved athletic performance, and little to no influence on heart health (studies exist with marginal effects in both directions) associated with caffeine ingestion.

    What’s your game? Are you actually convinced that coffee is harmful, or are you just looking for more page views from anxious soccer moms with little science background?

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