What A Caffeine Headache Feels Like
How do you know if you have a caffeine headache or one caused by stress or a cold? It can be tricky, but there are certain telltale signs of a caffeine headache.
Personal experience is a big clue. Say you have caffeine every morning and you get a headache on the one day you skipped it. You also have no other symptoms of a cold and youre just chillin. Congrats: Theres a good chance youve got a caffeine withdrawal headache.
Your level of pain may be another clue. Caffeine headaches are usually moderately to severely painful, and youll feel them on both sides of your head. They typically get worse with physical activity. They can start a few hours after reducing or stopping your caffeine intake.
Caffeine headaches are often accompanied by other withdrawal symptoms, such as:
When a withdrawal headache hits, youre probably tempted to guzzle a venti Starbucks, stat. We relate, but you can try other things first to get rid of that caffeine headache ASAP.
A New Study About Coffee And Migraines: How Much Is Too Much
In a new study published in the American Journal of Medicine, researchers asked 98 people with migraines to keep a diet diary that included how often they consumed caffeinated beverages . This information was compared with how often they had migraines. Heres what they found:
- The odds of having a migraine increased for those drinking three or more caffeinated beverages per day, but not for those consuming one to two servings per day the effect lasted through the day after caffeine consumption.
- It seemed to take less caffeine to trigger a headache in those who didnt usually have much of it. Just one or two servings increased the risk of migraine in those who usually had less than one serving per day.
- The link between caffeine consumption and migraine held up even after accounting for other relevant factors such as alcohol consumption, sleep, and physical activity.
Interestingly, the link was observed regardless of whether the study subject believed that caffeine triggered their headaches.
What About Caffeine And Other Types Of Headaches
Even those who donât suffer from migraine can experience headaches associated with caffeine intake, such as rebound headaches . Caffeine is prone to dependency, and rebound headaches occur when you consume too much caffeine, subsequently experiencing withdrawal.
For migraine sufferers, rebound headaches may prove to be more devastating, so itâs a smart idea to limit your caffeine intake and decrease your dependency on the stimulant. Decreased dependency will also help caffeine help you in the case of an oncoming attack: Eric, 30, typically limits himself to one cup of coffee per day, but has found that if he feels an a headache coming on, drinking a little more coffee can help.
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Caffeines Influence On Health
Coffee consumption is associated with a number of health benefits in men and women. In an umbrella review, Grosso et al. demonstrated that caffeine was associated with a decreased risk of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and mortality, and Parkinsons disease but an increased risk of pregnancy loss . On the other hand, coffee was linked with a rise in serum lipids and blood pressure. Overall, they concluded that coffee can be part of a healthful diet . A number of epidemiological studies confirmed a link between higher coffee consumption and better performance on cognitive tests in older adults, and an inverse relationship exists between coffee consumption and the risk of developing Parkinsons or Alzheimers disease and a lower risk of stroke. Interestingly, regular coffee consumption does not affect patients with epilepsy . It is reported that caffeine can enhance awareness, attention, and reaction time by stimulating wakefulness, increasing concentration, and decreasing the sensation of fatigue, but also may disturb sleep quality . Moreover, caffeine in low doses can improve mood states and decreases the risk of depression and suicide .
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In a study published in the American Journal of Medicine, US researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center , Brigham and Womens Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health evaluated the role of caffeinated beverages as a potential trigger of migraines.
Researchers found that for those who experience migraines, one to two servings of caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, cola and tea, were not associated with headaches on that day.
However, drinking three or more were associated with higher odds of a migraine headache on the same day, or the following day, the study suggests.
According to the NHS, a migraine is a moderate or severe headache felt as a throbbing pain on one side of the head.
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Try Using Peppermint Essential Oil
For some natural relief, try applying diluted peppermint essential oil to your temples. Some research says that menthol can reduce inflammation and relax tight muscles, soothing a headache.
One 2016 study even found that peppermint oil can be just as effective as acetaminophen at relieving tension headaches. Hey, its worth trying.
You can dilute about 15 to 20 drops of peppermint essential oil in 2 teaspoons of carrier oil, such as jojoba. Apply to your temples.
Why Do I Wake Up With A Headache
And is there anything I can do to find relief?
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Q: I often get headaches in the morning. They improve when I get up and have coffee, but I cant seem to figure out how to prevent them. I have tried various pillows and sleeping positions. What should I do?
Morning headaches have a number of causes. One of the common culprits is caffeine or a lack thereof. Sometimes, the reason for the morning headache is that youve slept in and youre late on your morning caffeine, said Dr. Kathleen Mullin, a neurologist and headache specialist at the New England Institute for Clinical Research. Its easy to tell if caffeine withdrawal is the cause of a headache, because putting caffeine back into your system quickly cures it.
People usually experience caffeine headaches only if they regularly drink more than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day, Dr. Mullin said, which is the equivalent of about two to three eight-ounce cups of brewed coffee. To reduce such headaches, slowly taper your caffeine consumption, ideally to less than 200 milligrams per day, she said.
Teeth grinding can also cause morning headaches. Mouth guards can prevent those, too, she said.
Melinda Wenner Moyer is a science journalist.
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Caffeine And Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetes is a group of chronic diseases that affect how blood sugar , is metabolized or not metabolized, by the body. This inability to utilize blood sugar results in high levels of circulating glucose in the blood vessels, which ultimately damages the integrity of the blood vessels.
Within the eye, the result is diabetic retinopathy, in which blood leaks into the retina. Because there is less blood perfusion, less oxygen is available to the retina. This results in the retina responding by the development of more fragile, leaky blood vessels in response to the low oxygen. Diabetic macular edema is the cause of vision impairment for those with diabetic retinopathy. This is the result of an inflammatory process.
Not a lot is known about the effects of caffeine and coffee on diabetic retinopathy
A notable research study indicated that caffeine decreased blood vessel permeability. This is attributed to its capability to block adenosine receptors. What researchers think that means is caffeine blocks the adenosine receptor in the brain and retinal tissue to prevent inflammation. Coffee has other active ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These other active properties of coffee may help decrease blood vessel leakage and the inflammatory process of diabetic retinopathy.
Caffeine And Primary Headachesfriend Or Foe
- 1Nordland Hospital Trust, Bodø, Norway
- 2Institute of Clinical Medicine, The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway
- 3Headache Research, Wolfson CARD, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, London, United Kingdom
- 4The Headache Centre, Guy’s and St Thomas’, NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom
Background: The actions of caffeine as an antagonist of adenosine receptors have been extensively studied, and there is no doubt that both daily and sporadic dietary consumption of caffeine has substantial biological effects on the nervous system. Caffeine influences headaches, the migraine syndrome in particular, but how is unclear.
Materials and Methods: This is a narrative review based on selected articles from an extensive literature search. The aim of this study is to elucidate and discuss how caffeine may affect the migraine syndrome and discuss the potential pathophysiological pathways involved.
In general, chronic consumption of caffeine seems to increase the burden of migraine, but a protective effect as an acute treatment or in severely affected patients cannot be excluded. Future clinical trials should explore the relationship between caffeine withdrawal and migraine, and investigate the effects of long-term elimination.
John Addington Symonds, the Goulstonian lecture for 1858
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Caffeine And Eyelid Twitching
Patients will often express concerns to me about their eye twitching. Technically, it is not an eye problem. It is the thin, fragile eyelid muscles that are twitching.
Myokymia is the involuntary misfiring of the nerves that innervate the delicate eyelid muscles. An individual can have bouts of eyelid twitching over days or months. The causes are largely unknown.
It is usually due to one or more factors of diet, stress, or fatigue:
- extreme physical exertion and fatigue,
Common myokymia does not affect vision. It is more of an annoyance than a problem.
Consider, however, if other facial muscles or the deeper eye muscles that control eye movements are involved, a medical evaluation is warranted to rule out more serious nerve disease.
There is no treatment for eyelid twitching. Do consider your dietary intake of caffeine, alcohol, and/or tobacco smoking. Evaluate ways to reduce your level of stress and get more rest.
Stimulate Those Pressure Points
Acupressure is a type of traditional Chinese medicine in which you apply pressure to certain points on your body. Its been found to sometimes relieve headaches and ease muscle tension.
A 2010 study found that one month of acupressure treatment relieved chronic headaches better than muscle relaxants did.
There are several pressure points that you can try stimulating for headache relief. More study is required to determine whether these actually work. It couldnt hurt to try, right?
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Caffeine Withdrawal May Cause Headache Nausea Depression
Medical practitioners are advised to question patients presenting with possible symptoms of caffeine overdose about their ingestion of caffeine from the less obvious sources such as guarana preparations, dietary supplements used for fitness and energy drinks, as well as from coffee, tea and chocolate.
An individual withdrawing from caffeine because of a chronic toxic overdose may experience symptoms of withdrawal including headache, nausea, nervousness, reduced alertness and depressed mood. These symptoms are most acute during the first 20-48 hours, but they may persist for as long as 7 days2. Discontinuation of caffeine at even a moderate intake can lead to these symptoms. There is also a danger of developing dependence by having that cup of coffee for the headache caused by caffeine withdrawal.
Caffeine Affects Your Blood Sugar
Even moderate doses of caffeine can cause your blood sugar to rise or fall, particularly if you have diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic. And shaky eyesight can be a side effect of these blood sugar fluctuations, per the Cleveland Clinic.
Besides caffeine-induced blurry vision, high blood sugar may also cause the following symptoms:
- Increased hunger or thirst
- An irregular or fast heartbeat
- Tingling or numbness of your lips, tongue or cheeks
âThe fix:â If caffeine regularly causes blood sugar swings and resulting vision disturbances, limit how much of the substance you drink, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor about the best sources and dose of caffeine for you.
Can You Get Blurred Vision With Anxiety?
Anxiety alone doesn’t typically cause blurred vision. But while anxiety and blurry vision don’t typically go hand-in-hand, dizziness is a symptom of anxiety and panic disorders, per the University of Michigan, which may contribute to temporary changes in eyesight.
And can anxiety cause kaleidoscope vision? This visual symptom is usually the result of an ocular migraine rather than anxiety alone, according to the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. That said, stress can trigger these migraines for some, per the National Health Service.
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Caffeine Can Also Trigger Headaches
Drinking lots of caffeine won’t help relieve a headache. For example, if you increase your caffeine intake, but don’t increase how much water you’re drinking, caffeine can trigger a headache indirectly by causing you to become more dehydrated.
However, you’re more likely to get a headache from caffeine if you simply drink too much of it too often, because this can lead to dependence.
If you suddenly stop or reduce your caffeine intake after consuming it regularly typically more than 200 mg per day for more than 2 weeks you may feel the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal. According to the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , headaches are the main symptom of caffeine withdrawal.
Caffeine narrows the blood vessels around your brain, so once you stop consuming it regularly, they expand. This causes a significant increase in blood flow to the brain, and that’s what can lead to migraine headaches.
“If you want to get off caffeine, don’t abruptly stop. Taper your intake gradually over a few days. This can help minimize the intense withdrawal headache,” says Stephens.
According to the American Migraine Foundation, it’s possible to avoid caffeine withdrawal symptoms by tapering down your intake to as little as 25 mg of caffeine a day.
Caffeine Headaches By The Numbers
Caffeine-withdrawal headaches generally occur when you consume over 200mg of caffeine daily for 2 weeks, then stop or delay your caffeine intake. The headache goes away within an hour of consuming 100mg of caffeine. Heres the amount of caffeine in various sources:
- Coffee : 95-165 mg
- Espresso : 47-64 mg
- Energy drinks : 27-164 mg
- Soda : 24-46 mg
- Green tea : 25-29 mg
- Black tea : 25-48 mg
- Milk Chocolate : 9 mg
- Dark Chocolate : 30 mg
If you stop caffeine completely, caffeine-withdrawal headache symptoms should go away in about 1 week.
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Why Does Caffeine Give Me A Headache
The average American consumes 227 milligrams of caffeine every day — equal to about three cups of coffee. For most people, caffeine is perfectly harmless and triggers no side effects. In more sensitive people, however, it might trigger anything from shakiness to dehydration to increased urination. Some people might also develop headaches associated with caffeine.
Caffeine As A Risk Factor For Chronic Migraine
Theres evidence that too much caffeine consumption is a risk factor for developing chronic migraine, says Spears.
Chronic migraine is when a person experiences 15 or more days per month of headache with migrainous features, according to the Migraine Research Foundation.
Its estimated that chronic migraine affects about 1 to 2 percent of the general population and close to 8 percent of people with migraine. Each year approximately 3 percent of people with episodic migraine convert to having chronic migraine each year, according to a paper published in 2016 in the Nature Reviews Neurology.
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Side Effects Of Too Much Caffeine
Coffee and tea are incredibly healthy beverages.
Most types contain caffeine, a substance that may boost your mood, metabolism and mental and physical performance (
However, high doses of caffeine may have unpleasant and even dangerous side effects.
Research has shown that your genes have a major influence on your tolerance to it. Some can consume much more caffeine than others without experiencing negative effects .
Whats more, individuals who arent used to caffeine may experience symptoms after consuming what is typically considered a moderate dose (
Tips For Reducing Or Eliminating Caffeine
If you decide that cutting down or quitting caffeine is the way to go, start slowly. If you like caffeine in the form of cold beverages such as sodas or energy drinks, the Cleveland Clinic suggests trying to drink water instead. Caffeine-free unsweetened iced tea might also be a satisfying substitute.
If youre a coffee drinker, try cutting out one cup of caffeinated coffee a day, or drink a half-caffeinated and half-decaffeinated coffee mix. Slowly shifting to higher ratio of decaf over a period of weeks can help reduce your intake while minimizing withdrawal symptoms.
But keep in mind that decaffeinated coffee still contains a small amount of caffeine, which can keep you dependent on caffeine and lead to withdrawal headache if you stop the decaf abruptly.
Another idea for reducing caffeine intake: Exercise instead.
Ive seen people substitute exercise at that time when they would typically have coffee, and that seems to help them through the withdrawal process, says Spears.
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