Caffeine is a natural stimulant found in some plants including the bean of the coffee plant, tea leaves, cocoa beans and the kola nut. It helps postpone drowsiness and stimulates the central nervous system, allowing you to feel more alert and able to concentrate better. If you decide to eliminate coffee and similar stimulants from your diet, you may go through caffeine withdrawal. One symptom of withdrawal is muscle aches and pains.
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Caffeine withdrawal occurs when you suddenly stop consuming your usual caffeine products such as sodas, teas and coffee drinks. Symptoms of withdrawal include headache, fatigue, nausea, inability to concentrate, irritability and muscle pain. Muscle pain occurs mainly in your upper body, including your shoulders and neck. You may experience symptoms within 24 hours of your last cup of coffee or can of soda. Consuming more caffeine will help diminish symptoms, but if you are trying to get the stimulant out of your system, you can manage the symptoms with ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Soothing tense muscles with hot water jets or a hot compress may also alleviate muscle pain.
Caffeine prevents receptors in the brain from dilating blood vessels that lead to headaches and body pain, Michael Kuhar, chief of neuroscience with Emory University in Atlanta, explained to CNN Health. When you quit ingesting caffeine, muscle pain and headaches can occur and range from a mild ache to deep tissue pain.
Your muscles support your entire body so you are able to move and flex to produce energy. While your muscle groups support your bones and other organs, they also play a role in metabolism through proteins in the blood. While caffeine withdrawal is generally harmless, when your muscles are affected with pain or discomfort, it can make it hard for protein to break down – which can lead to further muscle pain and weakness, according to an article published in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in 2006.
The best way to prevent caffeine withdrawal is to severely limit usage. Cutting caffeine cold turkey can cause muscle pain and other caffeine elimination side effects. Gradually limit usage to avoid the shock to your muscles and central nervous system. Instead of three cans of caffeinated soda, cut back by half a can or one can a day until you are no longer consuming anything with caffeine in it. Replace sodas, teas and coffees with non-caffeinated alternatives.