Saturday, August 13, 2022
HomeNewsIs Caffeine Good For Migraines

Is Caffeine Good For Migraines

Foods That Have Caffeine

How much caffeine is too much for migraine sufferers? | GMA

Caffeine is found in many foods and drinks, but the amount of caffeine per serving can vary greatly. Some common examples include:2

  • Regular coffee : 30 to 164 mg, depending on how it is made
  • 2 to 5 mg
  • Tea : 8 to 110 mg, depending on how it is made and what type of tea it is
  • Chocolate: 9 to 18 mg depending on brand and amount
  • Hot cocoa : 2 to 8 mg
  • Soft drinks : 36 to 57 mg depending on the brand
  • Energy drinks : 47 to 500 mg

Can Soda Give You Headaches

While you may find that consuming caffeine whether in coffee or soda helps prevent or ease migraines, you may not want to rely on it every day. Your body could become so used to the caffeine you’re drinking that it stops being effective, says the American Migraine Foundation. You might get around this by drinking caffeinated beverages only one or two days a week.

But there’s another reason you don’t want to go overboard with caffeinated soda or coffee: “While small amounts of caffeine can be beneficial for headaches, too much caffeine can lead to headaches,” says Danielle Wilhour, MD, an assistant professor of neurology in the headache and neurohospitalist division at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. She typically recommends that people limit their daily caffeine intake to no more than 2 cups of a caffeinated beverage, or 200 milligrams a day.

If you consume caffeine daily and suddenly skip a day, it can lead to what’s known as a caffeine withdrawal headache. According to a July 2019 review on the U.S. National Library of Medicine website, within 12 to 24 hours, you can experience headache along with other withdrawal symptoms. You may feel fatigued, drowsy or foggy headed.

So if you find that a soda habit is causing you to have migraines, don’t go cold turkey on the caffeine. Reduce your soda intake slowly. Fill that glass up less and less each day until you’re able to wean yourself off.

How Much Caffeine You Should Consume To Relieve Headaches

Overall, Stephens says it’s important to consume caffeine in moderation. That way, you can stave off any potential episodes of withdrawal.

“The right amount is under 400 mg of caffeine per day,” says Stephens. That’s around two to four cups of coffee, depending on how long it’s brewed for, as well as how strong the coffee you’re drinking is.

Read Also: Can An Iud Cause Migraines

How Caffeine Affects Migraine

You may think caffeine is a good migraine fix. Why not? Its on Excedrin Migraine. Ive even seen it recommended on Pinterest posts for curing a migraine, which is the holy grail of self help/cooking ideas. This is because caffeine has a stimulant effect that opens up blood vessels in your brain, allowing for some relief of the headache. Although it can be an effective abortive when used very sparingly, unfortunately its not a permanent cure. Using Excedrin for every migraine or drinking coffee can even lead to rebound headaches.

Theres still conflicting information on this subject, which is understandable considering the great dependency on caffeine that we have. In my personal opinion, people make excuses to have it around because they are so addicted to it, its unimaginable to give up. In my case, I was so desperate to feel normal again, I gave up all my favorite things like aged cheese, red wine, and even my morning latte.

What Should You Avoid

These foods could worsen your headache: #CAFFEINE It is ...

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.

Read Also: Are Migraines And Alzheimer’s Related

Can Caffeine Trigger Cluster Headaches

  • You are here:

Cases of headaches that are accompanied by pain in the head, neck or scalp affect millions of individuals all over the world. When a doctor is consulted, the headache is classified based on the location, type and length of pain and associated symptoms. Certain types of headaches including migraine and tension headaches can occur as a response to triggers such as caffeine. It is important to note that caffeine can also help manage these types of headache. Cluster headaches do not have any connection with caffeine. If you want to learn more about the management of this condition, read here.

The Causes Of Caffeine Headaches

When we drink coffee, or any caffeinated beverages the caffeine causes the blood vessels in the brain to constrict. When you stop the caffeine intake, the blood vessels in the brain dilate. This increases the blood flow and can trigger a headache. If you decide to drink caffeine, it is recommended that you increase your water consumption to compensate for its dehydration effects.

Although a caffeine headache is most commonly caused by withdrawal, it can also be triggered by excessive intake, medication overuse, caffeine sensitivity, allergic reaction, or a fluctuation of caffeine consumption from day to day.

Also Check: Do Daith Piercings Help With Migraines

You Are What You Eat But What About What You Drink Beverages Matter Says Joy Bauer Migraine Drink Triggers Are As Important As Food Triggers

You may know Joy Bauer as the nutrition expert for NBC’s Today Show. A contributing editor to Women’s Day Magazine, she’s a registered dietitian, wellness educator, wife, mother and even a college gymnast. She is one of the few nutritionists and registered dietitians that we’ve discovered who is educating us on how food can be medicine for migraine sufferers.

This is Part 2 of 4 segments – watch for all of them! You can find Part 1 on migraine nutrition here.

What Is A Cluster Headache

Quick Tip: Is Caffeine Good or Bad for Migraine Sufferers?

A cluster headache is capable of causing severe and abrupt pain that can last for 15 minutes up to 3 hours. A distinctive feature of a cluster headache is an attack that is recurrent, typically occurring at the same time each day.

Cluster headaches can affect the individual up to a week, a month or even up to a year and then stop which allows the individual a period free from pain for a month or longer. Based on studies conducted, the intake of alcohol is the only known dietary trigger for cluster headaches. If an individual is suffering from cluster headaches, he/she can drink beverages that contain caffeine without triggering an attack.

A cluster headache is capable of causing severe and abrupt pain that can last for 15 minutes up to 3 hours.

Don’t Miss: What Triggers Migraines With Aura

So Can Caffeine Really Cause A Migraine

The short answer? Yes.

Let us explain: While studies 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.

âCaffeine withdrawal is a known trigger for migraine and other headache types, and caffeine itself may trigger migraines,â 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. Research 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.

Caffeine May Help Relieve Headaches

The pain you experience with headaches specifically migraines is typically caused by the enlargement of blood vessels around your brain, which increases the amount of blood flow to your brain. This change in blood flow triggers a number of complicated mechanisms in the brain that can lead to headaches.

Caffeine narrows these blood vessels and is known to have “vasoconstrictive” properties. This means that it constricts vessels and reduces the blood flow to your brain, and as a result, it can help relieve migraine pain.

For example, a 2009 study published in the Human Brain Mapping Journal found that caffeine reduced cerebral blood flow that’s the blood supply to the brain by an average of 27%.

In this way, caffeine can help stop you from developing migraines in the first place, as well as relieving pain once you already have one.

Caffeine can also help relieve headaches by improving the effectiveness of pain relief medication. In fact, it’s a key ingredient in headache medications like Excerdine and Anacin, because it helps you absorb the active ingredients in the medication.

For example, a 2017 review published in The Journal of Headache and Pain studied the results of seven different controlled trials on patients who suffered from migraines or tension-type headaches over a 40-year period. The researchers found that over-the-counter pain relief medication containing caffeine works faster and more effectively than pain relief medication alone.

You May Like: Naproxen For Migraine Dosage

Is Honey Good For Migraines

Just add two or three tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and drink it to relieve migraines. You can add a tablespoon of honey to sweeten the taste. You can also have a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water daily to reap its health benefits and also prevent migraines.

Study: Excess Caffeine Intake Is A Migraine Trigger


In a study in The American Journal of Medicine, 98 participants with episodic migraine completed an electronic diary each morning and evening for six weeks.

Within the diary, the participants reported their caffeinated beverage intake, as well as their migraine characteristics and other lifestyle factors .

Don’t Miss: How Long Does It Take Topamax To Work For Migraines

Migraine Vs Caffeine Withdrawal

Another way that caffeine may indirectly lead to an intense headacheor what feels like a migraineis through withdrawal. For example, if youve been drinking two cups of coffee per day for the last number of months or years and stop cold turkey, youll likely feel it one way or another. One effect could be severe headaches, as your body gets used to going without something its grown accustomed to having.

When caffeine is consumed, it activates adenosine receptors, which is what staves off drowsiness and keeps you alert. As you consume caffeine more frequently, you may require more of it to get the same effect as tolerance builds. Cutting off that supplywhich may have turned into a dependencecan lead to withdrawal.

If youve recently stopped drinking coffee cold turkey and have been experiencing extremely painful headaches there are a couple of options. The first is to stick it outyou should be over it within a few days. The second is to slowly wean yourself off coffee by lowering consumption daily.

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.

Recommended Reading: Can You Get A Fever With A Migraine

Using Caffeine As A Form Of Treatment

A headache caused by caffeine withdrawal is considered as the easiest to manage. It typically resolves once the individual consumes caffeine. The caffeine works by increasing the absorption of analgesics such as acetaminophen and aspirin which boosts their ability to treat migraine and tension headaches. Due to this, some pain medications contain caffeine. Individuals who are using analgesics alone should take 40% more to achieve relief than those who use analgesics combined with caffeine.

Avoid Caffeine Withdrawal Headache

Is Coffee Bad For Your Migraines And Headaches? What is caffeine headache?

When you drink coffee three days a week or more, your brain can start to depend on caffeine, the foundation notes. Caffeine blocks a substance in your brainadenosinethat causes blood vessels to swell, called vasodilation. Swollen blood vessels in your head cause throbbing pain. If you suddenly stop drinking coffee, you may have a rebound headache sometimes referred to as a caffeine withdrawal headache.

The American Migraine Foundation warns against using caffeine to treat a headache on more than two days a week. If you need a cup of coffee to treat a headache more than that, you should talk to your doctor.

And if you have a sinus headache, know that caffeine is only a temporary solution. The way to stop the headache is to treat the sinus infection or inflammation. Untreated, it can become a long-term problemsomething no amount of coffee will help.

You May Like: Pressure Points For A Migraine

Is Caffeine Good Or Bad For Migraines

The short answer is it’s still not certain if caffeine helps or worsens migraines, but chronic consumption of caffeine is associated with an increased migraine burden. This association may exist because caffeine intake contributes to migraines or because migraine sufferers consume more caffeine in an effort to treat their migraines. Researchers also caution that “migraines” that appear to be relieved by caffeine consumption may not be true migraines but headaches from caffeine withdrawals that resolve when caffeine is consumed.

So how does caffeine jolt us awake and possibly influence migraines? The answer lies in its effects on the nervous system through the adenosine receptor.

Adenosine is a chemical formed by the breakdown of adenosine triphosphate , a compound found in all forms of life to provide energy to cells. In the nervous system, adenosine inhibits neuronal excitability, inhibiting motor activity and promoting sleep. Caffeine is an adenosine receptor antagonist it binds to adenosine receptors to block their inhibitory effects. Caffeine’s interaction with adenosine is also thought to contribute to its ability to reduce pain.

Researchers suggest a need for studies examining how long-term elimination of caffeine affects migraine burden to see if there’s a reduction in burden from reduced caffeine intake.

Is Decaf Coffee Ok

The USDA requires that at least 97.5% of caffeine be removed from coffee in order for it to be labeled as decaffeinated. So the starting potency of coffee is very relevant to the potency of decaf. University of Florida researchers have measured up to 6.9 mg caffeine per 8 ounces of Starbucks brewed decaffeinated coffee, and up to 15.8 mg caffeine per 1 oz shot of Starbucks decaffeinated espresso.

Studies of caffeine dependency and tolerance have shown that daily caffeine users are actually more motivated to consume it to avoid withdrawal symptoms, than to experience the lift that its stimulant properties may provide. Caffeine’s combination of a punishing syndrome of withdrawal, along with a rewarding sense of wakefulness, has made coffee, tea, and chocolate some of humanity’s best loved foods. One might say that caffeine-producing plants have succeeded in motivating humans to cultivate them widely and with very great care.

It is important to emphasize that caffeine consumption is rarely the sole “cause” of frequent headaches including migraine. However, it is a modifiable risk factor, unlike many other unavoidable migraine triggers, that is often a significant and overlooked contributor to the problem. The moderation or elimination of caffeine use should be one component of a successful program of therapies for migraine sufferers â and it requires no prescription.

Don’t Miss: How Common Are Visual Migraines

Using Caffeine For Migraine Relief

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has limited the amount of caffeine allowed in a 12-ounce serving of cola and other caffeinated soft drinks. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which lists the caffeine content in many brand-name sodas, that’s 71 milligrams. Researchers don’t know exactly how, but caffeine has some ability to combat migraine pain.

One theory has to do with the effect caffeine has on a chemical found naturally in the brain called adenosine, according to the American Migraine Foundation. Levels of adenosine are higher than normal during migraines. Caffeine helps bring down those levels, easing your pain.

Indeed, caffeine’s pain-stopping properties are why it’s found in some medications, including those specifically made to treat headaches. For example, Excedrin , which many people take for headache relief, contains aspirin, acetaminophen and caffeine. A study published October 2017 in the Journal of Headache and Pain found that headache medicines that contain caffeine are more effective for many people than painkillers without it.

Caffeine may also help your body absorb other drugs faster, meaning you will get relief sooner. That’s another reason it’s in so many headache meds, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Read more:5 Types of Terrible Headaches and How to Relieve the Pain


Popular Articles