A caffeine headache is typically triggered by caffeine withdrawal.
Some people believe that a caffeine headache is the result of overindulgence at Starbucks or by consumption of too much caffeine from other sources. Sometimes, this is the case. However, the opposite is actually true even more often than it’s not! Caffeine withdrawal is the number one reason why caffeine headaches happen! In fact, a reduction of just fifty to one milligrams of caffeine per day is often enough to set the stage for a tension headache or migraine.
If you’ve been cutting down on caffeine consumption, on purpose or inadvertently, you may be putting yourself in line for one of these headaches. Other common causes for headache include caffeine overload, caffeine allergy or caffeine sensitivity.
Today, we’d like to share a host of practical facts about these types of headaches and how to get rid of them!
What Does A Caffeine Headache Feel Like?
The “stress headache” type of caffeine headache is a lot milder than migraine-type caffeine headaches are. The stress-type headache may also be referred to as a tension headache and it is characterized by discomfort which may be felt on both sides of a person’s head. Usually, the discomfort is most noticeable in the front of the head.
Generally, pain from this type of headache is described as a feeling of “tightness” around the head’s “hat band”. Often, a sense of pressure or squeezing is experienced.
Strangely enough, as we touched on earlier, some people get migraine-type headaches due to caffeine withdrawal. However, others actually benefit from treating these types of headaches via caffeine! We are all different and everyone reacts to caffeine in different ways.
Symptoms of a caffeine-induced migraine may include mood swings and constipation a couple of days prior to migraine onset, in addition to cravings for certain foods and stiffness in the neck. As well, some sufferers experience aura before or during the headache. Extreme pain and light sensitivity during the headache are the most common symptoms. A migraine is much more uncomfortable than a tension headache and may be completely debilitating.
Some people get nauseated due to their discomfort and light sensitivity.
How to Get Rid Of a Headache
Caffeine may or may not relieve a headache. Having a cup of coffee may be helpful if you’ve cut down on caffeine consumption and believe that your caffeine withdrawals are triggering your head pain. If you want to avoid caffeine, there are some treatments which don’t require its consumption.
Sleep is one easy fix. A nap or extra-long sleep at night may be enough to stop the pain and get you back on track. If sleep isn’t plausible while the headache is happening, Peppermint Tea may be very effective. As well, using essential oils for aromatherapy may be helpful, including lavender, eucalyptus and ginger.
If you’d prefer to take an OTC (over-the-counter) pain reliever, consider acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin.
No matter what treatment you choose, always be sure to drink plenty of pure water. If you have a migraine, you may need a higher level of medication. You should always talk to your doctor about prescription-strength medications which help to prevent and/or treat migraines. In terms of OTC options for migraines, your best bests are Triptans (Imitrex is one brand of this class of drugs) or an Ergotamine derivative (Cafergot is one notable brand). There are also many
Now that you know more about caffeine headaches, you’ll have the power to prevent them and to treat them if they do occur.