Breaking Down The Data
A sample of 98 adults with frequent episodic migraines completed electronic diaries each morning and evening every day for six weeks. The total servings of caffeinated coffee, tea, soda and energy drinks consumed were recorded each day, along with twice daily headache reports documenting the onset, duration, intensity and medications used for each migraine since the previous diary entry. Other common migraine triggers that each participant normally experiences was recorded as well.
A self-matched analysis was used to evaluate the linkbetween caffeinated drinks and migraines on the same or following day.Researchers compared each participants occurrence of migraines on days withand without caffeine intake, eliminating the chance of factors such as age,sex, and other behavioral and environmental factors to intrude with data. Thisstrategy also accommodated for various caffeine dosages and serving sizesconsumed by participants.
The end result? For regular caffeine consumers, one to two servings thats 8 oz. of coffee, 6 oz. of tea, 12 oz. of soda, or 2 oz. of energy drink had no effect on migraines on the same or following day. Headaches were more often onset by three or more servings of caffeinated drinks for regular consumers, and one to two servings for those who rarely consume caffeine.
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
How Does Caffeine Help With Headaches
Caffeine is the main active ingredient in coffee, and it is what makes you feel energized after drinking it. Caffeine helps increase your alertness and improves your energy levels.
Caffeine works as a stimulant, making you feel more awake. This, therefore, reduces the symptoms that may cause a headache.
If youre feeling drowsy or tired, then drink coffee, and it can increase your productivity. You will feel more awake and less likely to experience a headache.
The coffees benefits dont stop there, as it also reduces your anxiety levels. This is why coffee is commonly used to treat anxiety disorders.
Coffee can also reduce your stress levels, helping you relax more, and it can improve your mood. This, in turn, can reduce the occurrence of headaches as well.
You can easily control how severe your headache gets by simply adjusting your coffee consumption. Drink less caffeine when you are experiencing fewer symptoms to avoid worsening your headache.
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How Much Should I Drink To Reduce My Headache
The amount of caffeine in one cup will depend on its variety. If you are aiming to use coffee to relieve your occasional headaches, then aim for up to 3 cups a day.
More than that, you would want to try alternative headache remedies.
The best time for you to drink your coffee is a few hours after waking up, as this will help with your blood circulation and energy boost for the day.
What About Caffeine And Other Types Of Headaches
Even those who donât suffer from migraines 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 migraine: Eric, 30, typically limits himself to one cup of coffee per day, but has found that if he feels an oncoming migraine, drinking a little more coffee can help.
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Almond Milk And Cashew Milk Can Help With Migraines
Almonds and cashews are high in magnesium, a nutrient that can protect against migraines. According to the American Migraine Foundation, magnesium can reduce the brain signaling that produces migraine auras and reduce or block the chemicals that transmit pain in the brain. Boost your intake of magnesium by drinking almond milk or cashew milk straight or adding one or both of them to your favorite smoothie recipes.
How Does A Lack Of Caffeine Make Your Head Hurt Though
Caffeine affects us in a handful of ways, particularly by narrowing the blood vessels in our brains. When you dont have caffeine, those blood vessels widen, and your brain experiences a boost in blood flow. This can cause a headache.
As your brain gets used to the effects of caffeine, cutting it off even just for a day can result in withdrawal symptoms like headaches.
So what are you supposed to do if you want to cut your caffeine consumption? Taper off slowly instead of going cold turkey .
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The Ascent Chiropractic Difference
At Ascent Chiropractic your Brookfield chiropractor were committed to not just relieving your headaches but to correcting their cause and optimizing your body to function better than it ever has before.
Our unique, low-force, evidence-based approach to treatment allows us to correct spinal biomechanics, restore normal function, and get you out of pain and on the road back to optimal health.
Dealing with migraine or tension headaches? Schedule an appointment by calling us at 262-345-4166 or use our online scheduling app.
Does Caffeine Help A Headache Or Not Heres What Experts Say
If a cup of coffee is your go-to remedy for a pesky headache, heres some confusing news: You may or may not be making your headache worse.
According to experts, caffeine can both relieve and worsen a headache the outcome depends on multiple factors specific to you and your habits. So before you head to the vending machine for a cola to numb the pain, there are a few things you should consider. Heres what you should know:
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Why Not Just Treat Your Headaches With Coffee
Unfortunately, caffeine’s effects on the brain can vary tremendously depending upon how often you use it. With occasional use, it may provide modest acute headache relief, as well as its characteristic satisfying sense of alertness and well-being. However, with daily or near daily caffeine exposure, the brain may develop a tolerance for, and dependency upon, the drug. This means, a given dose becomes less potent following repetitive exposure, and the brain develops an expectation that another dose of caffeine will be coming soon. If that caffeine expectation is unmet, a withdrawal syndrome may result, which includes headache itself as a prominent symptom, along with fatigue, trouble concentrating, nausea, and other symptoms suggestive of migraine. An example of this withdrawal syndrome may be the “weekend migraine” pattern where individuals experience attacks on Saturdays or Sundays associated with sleeping later than usual and delaying their morning cup of coffee.
In daily caffeine users, caffeine has less of an effect on brain activation and blood vessel constriction, and caffeine withdrawal is associated with a significant increase in brain blood flow associated with blood vessel dilation. These chronic effects of caffeine are likely a result of changes in the numbers and types of adenosine receptors expressed on brain cells as well as changes in their functions. These changes may contribute to the development of caffeine tolerance and dependency.
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.
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Spinach Cucumber Ginger And Raspberry Smoothie
Combine in a blender:
- 1 cup packed baby spinach
- ½ cup chopped and peeled Persian cucumber
- 1 tsp to 1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
- ½ banana
- 1 cup frozen raspberries
- 1 cup almond milk
Blend on high until fully combined. Add more or less almond milk to control the thickness of your smoothie. Feel free to substitute any frozen berries or frozen chopped fruit you have in your freezer. And dont forget to note how you respond to the smoothie in your migraine diary!
How Much Caffeine Is Too Much
The effects of caffeine vary from person to person. Some people can periodically enjoy one or more sources of caffeine, and then skip out on caffeine other days, without experiencing any headaches. Others are more sensitive and susceptible to the effects of withdrawal. Its still possible to develop negative symptoms when quitting caffeine even if you only consumed it for a few days in a row.
If you know that you tend to experience headaches easily and somewhat frequently, experts recommend either avoiding all caffeine or limiting your caffeine intake to one or two beverages daily.
This amount is roughly equivalent to 200 milligrams of caffeine, or about 2 regular-size cups of coffee.
When it comes to coffee consumption specifically, most research suggest that adults consume no more than about 3- to 4 cups a day. This amount is considered a moderate caffeine intake and provides about 300 to 400milligrams a day of caffeine. Other research suggests that more coffee, up to 5 or 6 cups, is even okay as long as it doesnt interfere with quality of life.
Below is a list of the most common sources of caffeine that can wind up contributing to withdrawal effects, according to the National Headache Foundation:
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How Much Coffee Should I Drink To Cure Headaches
Coffee normally has about 100-200mg of caffeine. This amount is much lower than what you need to cause health problems, so it is fine to drink coffee for your headaches.
If you are a light caffeine drinker, then 50-100mg of caffeine is enough to help with your headache. Drink more coffee if you have a higher tolerance to caffeine.
If you are using coffee for your headache, then drink one cup of coffee to feel its effects. Increase your dosage if 50-100mg is not doing the job.
If your coffee drink tends to be on the stronger side, then you may want to add hot water into it for the correct dosage.
How Exactly Does Caffeine Improve Headache Treatments
Blood vessels tend to dilate before a headache. Caffeine has vasoconstrictive properties, meaning it narrows blood vessels, restricting blood flow. Since caffeine prevents the dilation of blood vessels, it tends to prevent headaches. There are likely many more ways that caffeine works to reduce headache pain that arent fully understood.
Many OTC headache treatments, such as Excedrin, and some prescription headache medications actually contain caffeine, according to Cleveland Clinic. Because of this, some people might find that a simple cup of coffee relieves their headaches. If youre not a fan of coffee but you want to use caffeine to soothe your headache, consider trying green or black tea both contain caffeine.
However, you should be careful when treating a headache with caffeine, as you can overdose and there are some potential side effects.
On the other hand, caffeine can cause headaches.
Caffeine can make you urinate more, potentially dehydrating you. In turn, dehydration can cause headaches.
Headaches can also be caused by a caffeine overdose. According to Mayo Clinic, overdosing on caffeine can cause headaches as well as a range of other side effects. Daily maximum should be 400 milligrams of caffeine, although some people might only be able to tolerate less. This is the equivalent of about four cups of brewed coffee a day. This can vary depending on the strength of the coffee.
- energy drinks
- some soft drinks
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To Drink Coffee Or Not To Drink Coffee
Quitting coffee cold turkey isnât necessarily the answer since caffeine affects everyone differently, but having a few alternatives can certainly help you avoid dependency or suffer from a rebound headache. Use a migraine tracking app or journal to carefully monitor your caffeine intake and find the right levels for youâso you can live your best, headache-free life.
The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely upon the content provided in this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.
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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The Caffeines Effects Are In General Opposite To The Effects Of Adenosine
The brain levels of adenosine in cats and rodents in resting physiological condition have been estimated to 30200 nM/L, concentrations sufficient to activate A1, A2A and possibly A3 receptors if numerous on the cells , but in most tissues the adenosine signaling is not very prominent . Even low concentrations of caffeine, such as 110 M achieved after consumption of a single cup of coffee, result in significant antagonism of adenosine A1 and A2A receptors and may result in increased alertness .
Sleep and Arousal
It is clear that both adenosine and blockade of adenosine by caffeine may cause anti-nociception. Since the nanomolar affinities of adenosine for A1R and A2AR are almost the same, this indicates a fine balanced modulation of the pain processing , making it very difficult to predict the net effects of caffeine on nociception in humans.
Caffeine Overuse and Withdrawal
Further, repeated exposure to caffeine may lead to rapid development of tolerance, preferentially to the A1-blocking effect, and in some cases it even may result in opposite effects than expected . By drinking three to four cups of coffee regularly around 50% A1 and A2A receptor occupancy can be achieved for several hours, and many of the actions of caffeine are due to this AR blockade .
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Does Coke Or Pepsi Help With Headaches
Coke contains caffeine, which can reduce headache pain. But Coke is also high in sugar, which has negative health impacts. If you use caffeine to reduce headache pain, opt for a beverage with little or no sugar, such as coffee or tea. Be aware that small amounts of caffeine can help some headache sufferers and migraineurs, but too much caffeine is a possible migraine trigger.
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Caffeine Helps Ease The Pain
Moments before migraine strikes, blood vessels start to enlarge. What makes caffeine an effective pain reliever is its vasoconstrictive properties that restrict blood flow, narrowing the blood vessels and eventually helping ease the pain.
More importantly, caffeine speeds up relief because painkillers work a lot faster with it. Caffeine boosts the efficacy of acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen by up to 40 percent, given that there’s 100 mg or greater of the stimulant consumed.
Here’s a fun fact: caffeine and pain relievers work so well together that some over-the-counter medicines contain caffeine. If you’re curious, Cleveland Clinic listed down the various OTC’s and the amounts of caffeine in each through this link:
Caffeine also helps cure other types of headaches. A rare type called hypnic headaches are experienced by elderly people, waking them up with intense pain in the middle of the night.
Caffeine is especially helpful for treating hypnic headaches that doctors prescribe a cup of coffee when it strikes, or even before grandma and grandpa hit the hay!
Does Caffeine Cause Migraine Getting To Know Caffeines Varied Effects On Migraine
Caffeine is often cited as a headache trigger, but for some people with migraines, a cup of coffee can offer some relief in the midst of an attack. Still, others who have caffeine frequently can suffer migraine attacks triggered by caffeine withdrawal when they skip their morning cup of joe. Often, the key determining factor is the quantity of caffeine consumed: many over-the-counter migraine and headache medications contain caffeine as a key active ingredient, but it is typically included for its role in aiding the bodys absorption of these medicines rather than as a treatment itself.
Still, the line between how much coffee, tea or soda will relieve a headache versus the quantity that will cause one can vary widely from person to person, and depends on a variety of factors. Read on for tips on how to determine how much caffeine is right for your migraine management plan.
Understanding How Caffeine Affects You
Caffeine Effects by Headache Type
How To Determine Your Caffeine Limits
Remember to be on the lookout for caffeine in unexpected places, including some teas, chocolate, non-cola sodas, and even decaf coffee. Check the ingredients in any medications you take. Also, consider that caffeine levels can vary widely between different types of coffee: a large McDonalds brew contains 133mg of caffeine, while a venti at Starbucks has roughly 415mg of caffeine.
Reducing Caffeine Reliance
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