Not only is it annoying AF, but it can also be potentially dangerous. One study suggests that headache disorders including migraines are the third highest cause of disability worldwide due to their significant impact on quality of life and the financial cost of being unable to work.
Acute treatment of headaches with caffeine is sometimes effective, but should be limited to not more than two days per week. For people who experience migraine, caffeine taken three or more days per week, for whatever reason, may lead to dependency and increased migraine frequency.
For those who have frequent headaches, avoidance of all caffeine is ideal, and at least until improvement in headache frequency is seen. This is not surprising to hear. Few research studies have examined this question, but the answer appears to be yes.
Caffeine can provide some headache relief.
For example, one small controlled study found that caffeine was better than placebo, and as good as acetaminophen, in relieving tension-type headaches.
So why not just treat your headaches with coffee? With occasional use, it may provide modest acute headache relief as well as its characteristic satisfying sense of alertness and well-being.
However, with daily or near-daily caffeine exposure, the brain may develop a tolerance for the drug. This means, a given dose becomes less effective with repeated use.
Dependency develops when the brain expects that an additional dose of caffeine will be coming soon. If that caffeine expectation is unmet, a withdrawal syndrome results which includes headache itself as a prominent symptom, along with fatigue, trouble concentrating, nausea, and other symptoms suggestive of migraine.
However, the specific targets of action of caffeine in the brain and nerves outside the brain are known. Caffeine affects the activity of a naturally occurring and necessary brain substance called adenosine.
Adenosine levels in the blood go up during migraine attacks. Furthermore, adenosine, when injected into a vein, can trigger migraine attacks. Adenosine is widely available in the brain, and can produce many effects including less brain electrical activity, temporary widening of blood vessels, and control of some aspects of sleep and movement.
Adenosine acts by sticking to specific receptor molecules on the surfaces of some brain cells. Caffeine can block the action of these receptors, and, thereby, stop the effects of adenosine. We do not know how these effects of caffeine result in acute anti-migraine and pain control actions.
In daily caffeine users, caffeine has less of an effect on brain action and blood vessel size. Caffeine withdrawal may lead to a significant increase in blood flow in the brain. This is due to an increase in blood vessel size as a result of stretching or dilation.
These chronic effects of caffeine are likely a result of changes in the numbers, types, and change in function of adenosine receptors active on brain cells. These changes may contribute to caffeine tolerance and dependency.Primary Headaches: meaning headaches that are not due to another cause like a brain tumor or an infection or another medical condition).
Secondary Headaches: are those that due to some underlying condition.
Usually, secondary headaches are ruled out early on by imaging studies and lab tests. Deciding what foods to buy was simpler when most food came from farms.
Now, factory-made foods have made chemical additives a significant part of our diet. The cause of a headache on the left side could be a cluster headache. About half a million Americans will experience a cluster headache at least once in their life.
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