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Old 08-14-2008, 12:54 PM   #1
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Caffeine - significant painkiller for anyone else? Reason?

Hi,

My worst pain is usually neck and headache pain. A couple of cups of coffee can drop my pain score by a few points within an hour or so. I know the caffeine constricts the blood vessels, but other than that, I don't know why my pain responds so well to it. I'm also surprised that it affects my neck pain [less but it still has an impact] as well as my headaches. On the other hand, it doesn't do anything for nerve pain in my hand.

Does anyone else use caffeine to help them manage pain? Or, does anyone understand why it's so effective for some of my pain? I don't think it can be acting as an anti-inflammatory drug - all it is doing is restricting blood flow, right?

Last edited by Confused089; 08-14-2008 at 12:55 PM.

 
Old 08-14-2008, 05:53 PM   #2
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Re: Caffeine - significant painkiller for anyone else? Reason?

I find caffeine works well in conjunction with pain meds too. Caffeine is added to aspirin and other headache meds just because it constricts blood vessels and works quickly. In my case, if I don't have coffee soon after I rise, I'll get a kind of sickly headache and just be in a crummy mood. I suppose 40 years of daily coffee drinking gives me mild withdrawal symptoms, should I miss my morning dose.

 
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Old 08-14-2008, 07:31 PM   #3
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Re: Caffeine - significant painkiller for anyone else? Reason?

I've been off caffeine for over a month, but my head and neck were bothering me so much today that I dipped back into the coffee jar. It def. helped. Just don't quite understand *why* it's so helpful for me. Constricts the blood vessels but how does that reduce my pain level?

 
Old 08-14-2008, 07:54 PM   #4
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Re: Caffeine - significant painkiller for anyone else? Reason?

The only time I'm allowed to have caffeine is when I have a migraine, and it coupled with my meds helps. Because of the BiPolar meds that I take, I'm not allowed to have caffeine at all on a normal daily basis.

 
Old 08-15-2008, 09:09 AM   #5
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Re: Caffeine - significant painkiller for anyone else? Reason?

I've used it before for a headache. I use it now to help offset the sedation of various medications I take. I prefer it in the form of good expresso, but use tablet form combined with Diet Mountain Dew in the summer since they don't turn the chillers on in the building I work in until 7:00 and I get here at 5:30. Expresso when it's 85-90 degrees isn't so good. Guess I'd better stock up though, in about 6 weeks it'll be cold when I get here.

Tigg.

 
Old 08-15-2008, 10:07 AM   #6
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Re: Caffeine - significant painkiller for anyone else? Reason?

Tigg,
Have you every tried iced espresso? Just make it a tad stronger and throw in some ice cubes and milk if you drink it that way. It's yummy!!! I started drinking them iced when I lived in Italy and now I can't drink regular coffee. Only espresso. It's easier on the tummy. I was a Starbucks addict but now I whip them up at home and limit myself to one triple(or quad) in the am. I hadn't had any for a few weeks because my stomach has been not so great but when I saw this thread had to make some. Some days it does seem to boost my meds a little but not every day.

Good thread Confused! ~Mush

Also, have used coffee and Mt. Dew for years to help with headaches and migraines...along with Excedrin. Now I have a good migraine med(Maxalt) but if I don't catch it early enough I will still pull out whatever's handy.

Don't know why it helps with other pain...maybe it just helps our meds work better as opposed to helping with pain itself. Does that make sense?
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Old 08-15-2008, 10:44 AM   #7
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Re: Caffeine - significant painkiller for anyone else? Reason?

I do the iced expresso at home sometimes. It's just too much trouble to cart the milk around to work, it doesn't stay cold enough in my lunch bag.

Tigg.

 
Old 08-15-2008, 10:56 AM   #8
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Re: Caffeine - significant painkiller for anyone else? Reason?

My pain levels have been uncomfortably high the last few days [6 - 7+, don't want to say 8 b/c I usually reserve 8 and above for times when I basically can't function] and I have been using caffeine to get them down. However, I have been off caffeine for several months and now find I am shaking a lot after one cup...I guess I'd rather have the shaking than the pain! Hope my body gets used to the caffeine again soon. It's bringing my pain levels down to a level where I don't feel like I'm going to go nuts...but, as I said, it's not doing anything for my hand [compressed nerve]. I will probably have to cut way back on my posts - I'm sure everyone will appreciate some brevity in m posts!

 
Old 08-16-2008, 10:34 AM   #9
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Re: Caffeine - significant painkiller for anyone else? Reason?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Confused089 View Post
I'm sure everyone will appreciate some brevity in m posts!
No, no, no. You've been a great addition to our little family here and I would hate to miss out on your words of wisdom. I hope your nerve pain lessens.
Take care,~Mush
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Old 08-16-2008, 11:10 AM   #10
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Re: Caffeine - significant painkiller for anyone else? Reason?

Quote:
Originally Posted by trowftd3 View Post
No, no, no. You've been a great addition to our little family here and I would hate to miss out on your words of wisdom. I hope your nerve pain lessens.
Take care,~Mush
Thanks Mush, I appreciate your kind words. Acupuncture did wonders for the pain yesterday but I have no energy at all this morning - just wiped out and fatigued beyond belief. I know I have an infection of some kind since I did lab work this week and my WBC was high, but I don't know if that is causing the fatigue or if something else is. The acupuncturist put more needles last night than usual b/c of my pain levels - this can produce fatigue as well. It was tough getting the needles this time- I was just super sensitive to pain yesterday and anything/everything was painful. I am very grateful that acupuncture works so well for me however! I went from a 7+ to around a 3! I should be careful tho, this is a caffeine, not acupuncture, thread . . . ;-)

Last edited by Confused089; 08-16-2008 at 06:11 PM.

 
Old 08-16-2008, 01:10 PM   #11
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Re: Caffeine - significant painkiller for anyone else? Reason?

I really want to try accupuncture at some point. We just have so, so many medical bills at this time and our insurance won't cover accupuncture.

I've been dragging all morning; trying to figure out why I'm so tired. DUH! It just came to me when I was reading your post....I tossed and turned last night and ended up watching a movie until 2:30am. Then I got up at 8. Sometimes my brain just does not work. I was so tired but just could not sleep...I hate those nights.

Maybe I need some caffeine.
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Old 08-16-2008, 06:06 PM   #12
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Re: Caffeine - significant painkiller for anyone else? Reason?

Quote:
Originally Posted by trowftd3 View Post
I really want to try accupuncture at some point. We just have so, so many medical bills at this time and our insurance won't cover accupuncture.

I've been dragging all morning; trying to figure out why I'm so tired. DUH! It just came to me when I was reading your post....I tossed and turned last night and ended up watching a movie until 2:30am. Then I got up at 8. Sometimes my brain just does not work. I was so tired but just could not sleep...I hate those nights.

Maybe I need some caffeine.
I know my day is going to be shot if I stay up late or my sleep gets messed up [I don't always remember this at the right time, however!]. Slept well enough last night, but I've been tired all day.

I, too, was at the point where I could no longer afford acupuncture - I don't know if there is anything in your area yet [though I think the movement started in OR or WA can't remember right now, so there's a decent chance that there is something in your area], but during the last couple years "community" acupuncture clinics have begun to spring up around the country - they charge for acupuncture on a sliding scale -usually $15-$20/visit. It's a little different since everyone gets acupuncture in the same room, but it's been just as effective as the "discounted" acupuncture I got for $55 a shot. In addition, I usually fall asleep and have the needles in for several hours rather than just one hour. I would not be getting acupuncture right now if it were not for the community clinic [they also have free tea, which is nice!]. You can find out if there is one in your area by looking for "community acupuncture clinics." I know that even an extra $15 -$20 can be too much at times -my accident and chronic pain have ruined my finances. However, it lowers the bar considerably - the $55 I paid before was discounted - it's usually closer to $65 or $70. $15 isn't a lot more than going out to see a movie these days..

Last edited by Confused089; 08-16-2008 at 06:09 PM.

 
Old 08-17-2008, 09:08 AM   #13
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Re: Caffeine - significant painkiller for anyone else? Reason?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Confused089 View Post
However, it lowers the bar considerably - the $55 I paid before was discounted - it's usually closer to $65 or $70. $15 isn't a lot more than going out to see a movie these days..
How sad (but true) is that!!!

I ended up vomiting all day yesterday. Don't know what the problem was. I'm lying low today and still afraid to eat anything. I just took my pain meds so we'll see if they stay down. I woke feeling like I was crawling out of my skin...too much pain and too long since I took any medication. Hope today's better.

Thanks for the heads up. I will definitely look for a community clinic. The places I looked at before started out at $100/visit!!
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Old 08-17-2008, 09:39 AM   #14
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Re: Caffeine - significant painkiller for anyone else? Reason?

I know for sure on my own experience that coffeine helps migrane headaches. In fact Excedring Migrane has a lots of coffeine/codein(another stimulant) which helps head aches.
Usually pain in a neck is caused by tension headaches (unless you have some serious problems in your C-area) and coffein helps with it.

I in my case (CP patient after spinal fusions, MS and RA) any kind of stimulants causes such haos in my body and produces so much more pain! I under no sircumstances allowed to have coffein/codein and other stimulants.
Glad it helps you

Best wishes

 
Old 08-17-2008, 10:22 AM   #15
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Re: Caffeine - significant painkiller for anyone else? Reason?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moldova View Post
I know for sure on my own experience that coffeine helps migrane headaches. In fact Excedring Migrane has a lots of coffeine/codein(another stimulant) which helps head aches.
Usually pain in a neck is caused by tension headaches (unless you have some serious problems in your C-area) and coffein helps with it.
Moldova, I am virtually certain my headaches are coming from my very very messed up c-spine and probably from C2 [I fractured c1 and c2 badly and then had a c1-c3 fusion]. The rest of my c-spine is in poor shape. I have arm/hand problems from c5/6. Still, the caffeine helps. But I don't have MS or RA [as far as I know!]. I have been "off" caffeine for a while so my body doesn't feel great when I put stimulants in it right now.

 
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