Caffeine and Migraines – Helpful Or Hurtful?
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Caffeine and migraines seem to go hand in hand for many people. Some swear that only strong coffee makes a bad headache better. Others avoid caffeine like the plague concerned that its consumption will trigger a migraine. So, what is the truth?
Yes, caffeine really can help reduce the severity of migraines when taken during the very early stages of the headache. Why is this? Caffeine has the ability to work like other migraine abortive drugs in that it can reduce the inflammation of the blood vessels in your brain. For anyone who is looking for a simple, nonprescription migraine reducing therapy – a cup of string coffee, tea, or soda could be helpful.
Caffeine is also a common ingredient in many over the counter and prescription pain killers such as Excedrin. Caffeine is usually added to increase the speed at which one feels pain relief. This is can be an advantage for those who take pain killers in that you can feel faster effects using less active ingredients.
Unsurprisingly, there is also a dark-side to caffeine use. If used too frequently or in quantities that are too large, there can be a number of unpleasant side effects. If consumed on a regular basis, either as a beverage or as a pill, one’s body will start to expect and DEMAND its regular dose. The side effects that you will notice, such as increased headaches, fatigue, nausea, and anxiety are withdrawal symptoms.
This is why on the weekend many people will experience headaches due to missing their early morning coffee. The same will occur if pain medication is taken on a regular basis. You will find that you may start to develop headaches at predictable intervals. The number of headaches that you experience may become more frequent. These headaches will also be increasingly resistant to the drug that was previously helpful. You may find that you keep taking more medicine, yet experiencing less effect.
Also keep in mind that with caffeine more is not better. Excessive intake can cause headaches, fatigue, and trouble sleeping. For many migraine sufferers, poor quality sleep can be a major factor in triggering migraines. For this reason, many people choose to abstain from regular caffeine consumption.
If you are worried that drinking too much coffee or tea, or taking drugs containing caffeine is contributing to your headache problems and not helping – then strongly consider reducing the amount you consume. The best method is to taper off slowly, not to stop all at once in order to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms.