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Caffeine Withdrawal & Muscle Pain

author image Julie Boehlke
Julie is an avid outdoor enthusiast who loves to camp with friends and family. Julie spends her free time writing, working on her novel and brewing up new recipes of wine—her newest hobby. She enjoys scouring junk shops and antique boutiques in search of rare finds and one of-a-kind treasures. She collects vintage dishes and antiquarian books. Julie spends her days being followed around aimlessly by her most adoring fan—Mushu the pug. She ventures out on weekends to the remote trails and deep north woods of Michigan. Julie also enjoys exploring out of the way nooks and crannies along the great lakes shoreline.
Caffeine Withdrawal & Muscle Pain
Stopping the consumption of coffee can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Photo Credit: TongRo Images/TongRo Images/Getty Images

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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Headache may be a sign of caffeine withdrawal.
Headache may be a sign of caffeine withdrawal. Photo Credit: Alliance/iStock/Getty Images

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.


When you quit ingesting caffeine, muscle pains may occur.
When you quit ingesting caffeine, muscle pains may occur. Photo Credit: crossstudio/iStock/Getty Images

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.


Muscle pain is an unpleasant side effect of caffeine withdrawal.
Muscle pain is an unpleasant side effect of caffeine withdrawal. Photo Credit: crossstudio/iStock/Getty Images

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.


Wean yourself off of caffeine slowly.
Wean yourself off of caffeine slowly. Photo Credit: Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images

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.

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