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Is your coffee habit making your fibromyalgia worse?

Lana Bandoim's picture
Coffee and Fibromyalgia

Many doctors recommend that fibromyalgia patients avoid caffeine and eliminate coffee from their diets. However, it is difficult for some patients to stop their coffee habits, and some claim that the caffeine actually makes them feel better. Should you put away your coffee maker and hide the creamer?


The U.S. National Library of Medicine recommends that fibromyalgia patients cut out caffeine from their lifestyles. It includes the suggestion under its category of treatments and helpful ideas. Many doctors follow this recommendation and urge their patients to reduce or completely eliminate caffeine. The issue is that caffeine can interfere with sleep, and the lack of sleep can make fibromyalgia symptoms worse. However, the withdrawal from coffee and other sources of caffeine can create a new source of problems. The withdrawal can include headaches, fatigue, pain, irritability, cramps and other symptoms.

According to Dr. Michael McNett from the Fibromyalgia Treatment Centers of America: “The problem with caffeine is that the 'up' is relatively brief and transient, and it's followed by substantially longer and deeper sedative effect. They are starting off from a point of fatigue, so the sedative qualities are amplified - leading to a much deeper and long lasting sense of fatigue.”

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Although many fibromyalgia patients depend on caffeine to help them overcome fatigue, it may not be the best solution. Health experts recommend that you slowly taper your use of coffee and caffeine while evaluating your fibromyalgia symptoms. They point out that the slow removal of caffeine should reduce or completely eliminate withdrawal symptoms. In addition, your body will slowly stop depending on caffeine as a boost. As Dr. Michael McNett points out, fibromyalgia patients are affected greatly by caffeine, so eliminating it may help reduce other symptoms.

It is important to note that health experts encourage fibromyalgia patients to reduce their caffeine intake slowly. Instead of going cold turkey and risking headaches or other symptoms, you may want to follow their advice and spend several weeks gradually reducing your dependence on coffee.

Read more about fibromyalgia:
Memantine drug shows promise for fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia study focuses on brain stimulation to fight pain