Does Caffeine Help Headaches or Migraines?

Does Caffeine Help Headaches
Does Caffeine Help Headaches

Does Caffeine Help Headaches? - Does Caffeine Help Headaches? When it comes to headaches caffeine is very much an exception to the rule and can both cause and cure headaches.

Caffeine is a stimulant drug which affects the central nervous system and, when used properly, can increase your alertness, make you less tired and even promote muscle coordination. The World Heath Organization (WHO) views caffeine as safe and considers that it has little resemblance to addictive drugs which can have detrimental effects on an individual's health. Although not strictly addictive, caffeine can produce mild symptoms which often appear once you stop consuming drinks containing caffeine.

Does Caffeine Help Migraines? Many people are surprised to find that caffeine is found in many prescription medications and headache remedies which can be bought without a prescription. When caffeine is added to some painkillers, it can actually increase their effectiveness by as much as forty percent, helping the medication to be absorbed more quickly into the body. One particular advantage of this fast absorption is that it often leads to your taking less medication than you would otherwise and thus lower the risk of unwanted side-effects and addiction.

Caffeine is often used to help prevent migraine headaches, and sufferers will often drink coffee or cola when they feel a migraine coming on. This works because migraine headaches are caused in part by the dilation of blood vessels in the head which trigger pain sensitive nerves running along the walls of the blood vessels. Caffeine, however, acts to cause these same blood vessels to constrict and so counters the dilatory affect which is bringing on a migraine. Caffeine usually works in this way within about half an hour, and its effects can last for anywhere from three to five hours.

So far so good, but caffeine can also produce unwanted effects in certain cases. However, the problem is not the caffeine itself but the fact that many caffeine drinks also contain high levels of sugar. Migraine sufferers who drink coffee with a fair amount of sugar in it, especially on an empty stomach, can rapidly increase their blood sugar levels and this can be the worse thing a migraine sufferer can do, actually accelerating the onset of a migraine. This can, of course, be countered by both reducing the amount of sugar in your coffee and also ensuring that you eat before drinking your coffee.

As a side note, it is also known that many migraine sufferers can be helped by increasing their magnesium levels, often by taking magnesium supplements. However, as caffeine also acts as a diuretic, drinking too much caffeine can flush the magnesium from your system almost as quickly as you take it.

One other thing to remember about caffeine is that it is not only found in drinks such as coffee, tea, and cola but is also present in quite high levels in some foods such as chocolate. All of this needs to be born in mind because if you are taking painkillers, drinking coffee and eating chocolate, for example, your consumption of caffeine can reach very high levels very quickly.

Most people drink about two or three cups of coffee a day as their main source of caffeine, and this is fine. If however, you find yourself drinking more coffee than this then you may find that you experience headaches if you suddenly stop drinking coffee. So, if you do decide to cut coffee (or indeed caffeinated drinks of any description) out of your diet then cut down gradually and do not simply stop taking caffeine overnight.

At the end of the day, caffeine can be both good for you and bad for you and the secret is to get the balance of your caffeine intake right. Unfortunately, everybody reacts differently to caffeine, and so it is not possible to simply come up with an ideal daily caffeine intake figure. Nevertheless, being aware of the affect that caffeine can have, you should experiment to discover the level of caffeine that suits you best.

Next Page : What Causes Migraine Headaches In The Morning?