When Are Opioids Or Butalbital Useful For Migraines
Your doctor may suggest an opioid if none of the treatments listed above help, or if you have bad side effects.
It is not clear if butalbital should be used at all for treating migraines. If your doctor prescribes butalbital for your migraines, ask why. And ask if there are any other drugs that would work.
How Are Migraines Treated
Migraine headaches and their triggers can vary a lot between people. Treatment can depend on how severe the headaches are, how often they happen, and what symptoms a person gets with them.
Usually it helps to lie down in a cool, dark, quiet room. Your doctor may prescribe pain relief medicine or medicines that help with nausea and vomiting. Some people need preventive medicines that are taken every day to reduce the number and severity of the migraines.
Some doctors teach a technique called biofeedback to their patients with migraines. This helps a person learn to relax and use the brain to gain control over certain body functions that cause tension and pain. If a migraine begins slowly, some people can use biofeedback to remain calm and stop the attack.
Adding other non-medicine therapies to the treatment plan, such as acupuncture or herbs, helps some people with migraines. But ask your health care provider about these before trying them. This is especially true of herbal treatments because they can affect how other medicines work.
What Happens During A Migraine
Every migraine begins differently. Sometimes people get a warning that a migraine is on its way. A few hours or even days before the actual headache, people might feel funny or “not right. They might crave different foods, or feel thirsty, irritable, tired, or even full of energy. This is called a “premonition.”
Some people get auras. These are neurological symptoms that start just before the headache and last up to an hour. An aura is different in every person, but it often affects vision. For example, a person might:
- have blurred vision
- see spots, colored balls, jagged lines, or bright flashing lights
- smell a certain odor
- feel tingling in a part of their face
Once the headache starts, light, smell, or sound may bother people with migraines or make them feel worse. Sometimes, if they try to continue with their usual routine, they may become nauseated and vomit. Often the pain begins only on one side of the head, but it might eventually affect both sides. Trying to do physical activities can make the pain worse.
Most migraines last from 30 minutes to several hours some can last a couple of days.
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How Does Caffeine Help Migraine Symptoms
Initially, caffeine was thought to help migraine symptoms because it works as a vasoconstrictor to counteract the dilation of blood vessels and increased blood flow that was thought to cause migraines. More current theories examine the neurological effects rather than the vascular effects of migraines.
One theory proposes that caffeine helps to regulate the activity of adenosine . During migraine attacks, people have an increased amount of adenosine in the blood, and injections of adenosine have been shown to cause migraine attacks. Caffeine works to stop adenosine activity, but it is not clear how this mechanism leads to reduced headache and migraine pain.
Another recent idea is that caffeine intake may affect migraine symptoms by having an impact on the relationship between migraines and the gut-brain axis . One study found that coffee specifically was associated with changes in the bacterial composition in the gut. Another study found that the use of probiotics benefited migraine symptoms.
Berries May Relieve Sinus Pressure
Smaller fruits tend to have more exposure to pesticides, and so Brown recommends getting organic berries whenever possible.
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How Does Caffeine Work On Migraine Pain
Caffeine affects a brain chemical called adenosine. Adenosine is found naturally in human cells. During a migraine attack, adenosine levels go up. This causes brain blood vessels to widen, reduce electrical activity, and change other body functions. Caffeine can block some of these actions, reducing head pain.1
Many studies have tried to reveal the secrets of how caffeine affects migraine attacks. One small study found caffeine worked better than a placebo and as well as acetaminophen for tension headaches.1
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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Dr William B Young Advises:
That’s a question with a complicated answer. The key to whether caffeine is harmful or beneficial depends on how much you ingest.
We know that caffeine can help migraines. Some people find that a cup of coffee or tea helps relieve an occasional or . Caffeine is also used as an ingredient in many commonly used prescription and over-the-counter headache medications.
However, caffeine can also cause headaches. An important study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine about ten years ago, found that people who drank more than one cup of coffee a day were at risk for getting a withdrawal headache if they went without it. This is why people who drink coffee at work on weekdays may develop headaches on the weekends
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Also, people who get occasional headaches or migraines and drink more than two cups per day of caffeinated beverages -or who take a lot of medication that contains caffeine – are at risk for developing daily headaches. If you fall into this group, you should gradually cut down on your caffeine intake until it is eliminated. Then you usually will go back to getting only occasional headaches. But you must cut down on the caffeine very gradually or your headaches may worsen.
Experts Answer: Does Caffeine Cause Or Cure Headaches
Each week, MyHealthNewsDaily asks the experts to answer questions about your health.
This week, we asked neurologists and headache specialists: Does caffeine cause headaches, or cure them?
Laura M. Juliano, director of Behavioral Pharmacology and Health Promotion at American University, Washington, DC:
There have been some case reports of people experiencing headache after drinking caffeine, but in general caffeine does not directly cause headaches.
Regular caffeine consumption leads to physical dependence on caffeine, which manifests as withdrawal symptoms when a caffeine user abruptly stops using caffeine. A diffuse throbbing headache is a hallmark feature of caffeine withdrawal. The reason for this is that one of the pharmacological effects of caffeine is a constriction of blood vessels in the brain.
When someone regularly drinks caffeine, the body adjusts in essence fighting this effect. Then when caffeine isnt consumed the result is that blood vessels dilate too much, which causes a headache. It takes a little while for the body to readjust to not having caffeine and that is why caffeine withdrawal headaches can persist for a week or more. A person doesnt have to be a very heavy caffeine user to experience a caffeine withdrawal headache. It varies from person to person but even as little as a small cup of coffee each day could lead to withdrawal if someone stops caffeine abruptly.
If someone is headache-prone, they should avoid using caffeine regularly.
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Natural Remedies For Migraines
There is a very complex relationship between migraine and coffee. Migraine cures, at this point, dont really exist. According to the National Institutes of Health, exactly why they occur, and exactly what can be done to prevent and treat them, is misunderstood. That said, some treatments have been observed to work in certain individuals. These treatments include both natural and pharmaceutical options.
The following natural options might help you deal with the migraine headaches, whether by preventing them or reducing the duration or symptom strength.
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Best Energy Drinks For Migraines
Did you know dehydration is one of the main causes of migraines? When you dont get enough water into your body, a migraine is bound to come knocking into your head.
When your head feels like its clamped in an ever-tightening vice, an energy drink could provide you with the relief you desperately need. Im willing to bet you didnt know that caffeine can be used to treat migraines. Thats right, your regular energy drink could save you from your migraine pain. But without the proper amount, it could also become the same thing that triggered your migraine in the first place.
Hence, understanding how caffeine causes and relieves migraines is important to help you prevent the onset of frequent migraines in the future.
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How Are Migraines Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask a lot of questions to see what might be causing the symptoms, and will examine you, paying particular attention to the neurological exam. He or she may ask you to keep a headache diary to help figure out what triggers your headaches. The information you record will help the doctor figure out the best treatment.
Sometimes, doctors may order blood tests or imaging tests, such as a CAT scan or MRI of the brain, to rule out medical problems that might cause a person’s migraines.
Or More Caffeinated Drinks May Be A Trigger
For her study, Mostofsky recruited 98 volunteers who experience migraine with or without aura. The study participants filled in electronic diaries every morning and evening for 6 weeks. In these diaries, they recorded a variety of factors, including exercise, caffeine and alcohol consumption, stress, sleep quality, and headaches.
Specifically, the team asked the participants about total daily caffeine intake from coffee, tea, soda, or energy drinks.
They then compared how likely each participant was to experience migraine on a day when they consumed caffeine with the likelihood on a day when they didnt.
Using a statistical model, the team estimated that drinking one or two caffeinated beverages did not change the odds of experiencing a migraine headache on the same day. However, when the volunteers consumed three or more caffeinated drinks, the odds were significantly higher.
The results were similar when the team reanalyzed the data to take alcohol intake, stress, sleep quality, exercise, and female participants menstrual cycles into account.
Mostofsky also looked at the potential of reverse causation, meaning that the volunteers may have consumed more caffeine to help cope with the onset of a migraine headache.
However, the data showed that people who drank three or more caffeinated beverages had higher odds of developing a headache on the following day, meaning that this amount of caffeine didnt stop migraine in its tracks.
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So Can Caffeine Really Cause A Migraine
The short answer? Yes.
Let us explain: While have found no proof that drinking caffeine will automatically trigger a migraine, Dr. Crystal warns that the stimulant is still one to be wary of.
Caffeine withdrawal is a known trigger for migraine and other headache types, and caffeine itself may trigger migraines,? Dr. Crystal says.
Migraine triggers are unique for everyone, but studies show that when it comes to caffeine, the amount consumed may have more weight in whether or not you develop a headache. from the American Journal of Medicine shows that three or more servings of caffeinated beverages a day is associated with developing a migraine in individuals who experience episodic migraines.
How Caffeine Hurts
Oddly enough, what makes caffeine effective in pain relief can also cause headaches.
Withdrawal: Itâs easy for your body to get so used to the effects of caffeine that when you donât have it in your system, you have withdrawal. A headache is one of the symptoms. This can happen when you have caffeine regularly, even as little as a cup of coffee a day.
Too Much Medication: Caffeine can also a factor in whatâs known as a medication overuse, or rebound headache. This can happen when you take too much of any kind of pain reliever or take it too often. When the medicine wears off, the pain comes back worse than before. When you combine caffeine with pain relievers this condition is more likely.
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What You Can Do
Be aware of how caffeine affects you, and pay attention to how much of it you drink and eat. If you get migraines, or if you find yourself having headaches frequently, you may want to try to cut down on caffeine or avoid it completely. Itâs best to do that gradually. For example, if you normally have 2 cups of coffee in the morning, start by cutting back to one. If you quit suddenly, it can take up to a week to get past the withdrawal symptoms.
Keep track of your headaches and what seems to help. Get good sleep, and drink plenty of water. A nutritious diet and daily exercise can also help. Try to manage stress. You might be able to beat a headache with relaxation techniques, meditation, or massage instead of using medicine or caffeine.
Migliardi, J. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, November 1994.
Lipton, R. Archives of Neurology, February 1998.
National Headache Foundation: âCaffeine: A Little Bit Goes a Long Way.â
Ward, N. Pain, February 1991.
American Headache Society: âCaffeine and Migraine.â
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: âHeadache: Hope Through Research.â
Diamond, S. Current Pain and Headache Reports, 2001.
Diener, H. Current Treatment Options in Neurology, 2011.
Silverman, K. New England Journal of Medicine, October 1992.
Addicott, M. Human Brain Mapping, October 2009.
Cleveland Clinic: âRebound Headaches.â
Cupini, L. Journal of Headache and Pain, 2005.
What Should You Avoid
While a 2016 study found that migraine intensity in study subjects decreased after discontinuing the use of caffeine, thereâs no reason to avoid it completely if it does not trigger your own headaches, Dr. Crystal says. In fact, consuming coffee has benefits, too.
âCoffee may help prevent neurological diseases, and a compound found in both caffeinated and decaf coffee may help prevent abnormal protein accumulation found in Alzheimerâs and Parkinsonâs patients,â Dr. Crystal says.
Those who are unsure of how caffeine affects their migraines can keep a food journal or use a migraine tracker app to log potential triggers, as well as monitor how much caffeine is a safe amount for you.
In general, Dr. Crystal suggests limiting your caffeine intake to less than 200mg total per day. Thatâs about two cups of coffee, five cups of soda, or one energy drink.
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Withdrawal Headache Or Something Else
People often describe caffeine withdrawal headaches as a widespread, throbbing head pain. The International Headache Society defines a caffeine withdrawal headache as a headache that:
- develops within 24 hours after last consuming caffeine in people who consume at least 200 milligrams per day of caffeine for more than 2 weeks
- goes away after 7 consecutive days of not consuming caffeine
- improves within 1 hour of consuming 100 mg of caffeine
Doctors may also diagnose someone with a caffeine withdrawal headache if their symptoms do not match those of other types of headache.
How To Reduce Your Dependence On Caffeine
One way to avoid caffeine withdrawal headaches is to reduce your dependence on caffeine. However, you could end up with even more headaches if you go cold turkey.
The best way is to cut back slowly. You should aim to reduce your intake by about 25 percent each week.
For example, if you usually drink four cups of coffee a day, go down to three cups a day for the first week. Continue to cut back until you get down to one or no cups a day. If you crave the taste of coffee, switch to .
You may consider using a food diary to track how much caffeine youre getting. This will help you cut back on other sources of caffeine, such as black tea, , and . Switching to noncaffeinated alternatives, such as herbal tea, with fruit juice, and may help.
Most people can manage caffeine dependence or reduce their reliance without medical intervention.
You should make an appointment with your doctor if your headaches are accompanied by:
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Can Too Much Caffeine Give You A Headache
Unfortunately, too much caffeine can also cause headaches or make them worse. Overuse of caffeine can lead to what is called rebound headache or medication-induced headache. If you have frequent headaches, limiting the amount of caffeine you consume may help reduce the frequency and severity of the attacks.