Does Caffeine Help Headaches?

Caffeine can help a lot when it comes to providing fast relief. Regardless of whether it’s your typical tension-headache, or a full blown migraine, an overlooked solution might be found at the bottom of a cup of coffee. Believe it or not, that’s why caffeine tends to be in most pain relievers. In fact, when using store bought pain relievers like asprin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen, caffeine helps boost their effectiveness by up to 40%. Caffeine increases both the strength of the medication and the speed of which it takes effect.

Caffeine helps to fight off unwanted inflammation. While it can get a bad reputation sometimes for its vasoconstrictive tendencies, that might be exactly what you need when you’re having a bad headache. Caffeine also interferes with the perception of pain in the brain, by influencing neurological pathways.

There are certain types of headaches that are shown to react specifically to caffeine. One of those, referred to as a Hypnic headache, is a rare type of chronic headache syndrome that can affect some elderly individuals during their sleep. For those suffering from Hypnic headaches, drinking a cup of coffee or tea can help fight off their symptoms in order for them to get a full night of sleep.

Another caffeine reactive headache is known as a post-lumbar puncture headache. This is a type of headache one would get after receiving a spinal tap. Sounds like they definitely need a cup of coffee, especially if it will help the pain go away.

Of course, it is important to moderate your caffeine intake. Just as it can help take headaches away, it can help cause them. One of the biggest side-effects of caffeine withdraw is the dreaded caffeine headache. The more caffeine you regularly consume, the more likely you are to develop “rebound headaches.” Like most things in life, the key to caffeine is balance.

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