Caffeine may increase pain tolerance
Consuming caffeine may increase the ability to withstand pain, a small study suggests. Researchers recruited 62 men and women, ages 19 to 77, and had them record their daily caffeine intake from coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks and chocolate. They averaged 170 milligrams of caffeine a day, about the amount in two cups of coffee, although 15 per cent of the group consumed more than 400 milligrams a day. The study is in Psychopharmacology.
After seven days, they took the volunteers into a laboratory to test their pain tolerance using calibrated devices that gradually increased heat or pressure on a volunteer’s forearm or back. The people pressed a button on a handheld device first when the sensation became painful, and then again when it became intolerable. The experiment controlled for sex and race, current tobacco use and alcohol consumption, among other variables that could affect pain sensation.