Actor Liam Neeson is widely recognized for his role as the fierce character Byran Mills in the popular Taken film series. However, behind the scenes, the 70-year-old actor has faced his own battle with chronic pain, caused by what he later discovered was excessive coffee consumption.
Despite his struggles with chronic pain, Neeson has continued to impress audiences with his performances in action thrillers, including his most recent film, Memory. Released in April 2022, Memory tells the story of an accomplished assassin who becomes the target of a criminal organization. Neeson’s performance in the film is a testament to his ongoing success in the action film genre.
But Neeson’s success has not come without challenges. In an interview with Radio 5 Live, the actor opened up about his own experience with excruciating leg cramps and shooting pains. “I was feeling cramps and shooting pains in my leg in the middle of the night,” Neeson recalled. “I cried because the agony was excruciating.”
It was later discovered that Neeson was suffering from lactic acid crystals in his leg caused by excessive caffeine intake. Lactic acid is a waste product that accumulates in muscles during exercise. When muscles are exercised over an extended period of time, lactic acid can build up and crystallize, causing severe pain and long-term damage to the body.
The ability of the muscle to flush out waste materials is reduced due to the restricted blood flow induced by increasing muscular density. Lactic acid crystallizes into crystalline forms in the muscle as it accumulates. The longer the muscle is contracted, the larger these crystals become. These crystals then brush against pain-sensitive muscle fibers in the wounded muscle, causing severe pain and, because required nutrients are not delivered, incapacitating consequences on the body over time.
Drinking more water and stretching before and after exercise are some ways to avoid the formation of lactic acid crystals. However, Neeson’s experience highlights the importance of being mindful of caffeine intake as it can contribute to lactic acid buildup.
Neeson’s massage therapist recognized the potential role that caffeine played in the actor’s chronic pain. “Do you drink a lot of coffee?” the therapist asked Neeson. When Neeson replied in the affirmative, the therapist suggested he switch to decaf. After giving up caffeine and recognizing the effects it had on his painful cramps, Neeson claimed that he is now “addicted” to decaf tea, a healthy alternative to coffee.
According to the Mayo Clinic, excessive caffeine use can result in a variety of symptoms and serious health problems, including uncertainty and agitation, insomnia, headaches, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, dehydration, and anxiety. It is recommended that most adults limit their daily caffeine intake to up to 400mg. This is roughly equivalent to the caffeine content of two “energy shot” beverages, ten cans of cola, or four cups of brewed coffee.
Aside from limiting caffeine intake, the Mayo Clinic also recommends minimizing protein consumption and replacing it with more fruit and vegetables. Doing so can help reduce lactic acid buildup and promote overall health.
Neeson’s experience with chronic pain has also led him to become an advocate for others struggling with chronic pain. He has been assisting GB News broadcaster Eamonn Holmes with his own chronic pain. Neeson once whispered to Holmes on a plane, “Rest is rust, and action is lotion.” The actor’s message emphasizes the importance of rest and self-care, even for those in physically demanding professions.
In conclusion, Neeson’s experience serves as a reminder to be mindful of caffeine intake and its potential effects on the body. Lactic acid buildup can cause chronic pain and long-term damage to the body. To avoid lactic acid crystals, it is recommended to stretch before and after exercise, drink plenty of water