Migraines Explained

Fighting Migraines The Proper Way

Caffeine, the most widely used mind-altering drug in the world, might be effective at helping the common headache by constricting blood vessels. But caffeine can actually worsen migraines, according to new research by Harvard. The study followed 98 people, mostly female, who suffer from migraines and made some complicated discoveries about caffeine consumption.

Migraine sufferers who usually consumed one to two caffeinated drinks a day were more likely to get a migraine if they suddenly upped their caffeine intake, the study found. But chronic caffeine consumers–people who regularly drink three or more cups of coffee or other caffeinated beverage per day–who suddenly quit were also likely to experience withdrawal headaches.

The bottom line? Maintaining a steady intake of caffeine is a good way to avoid headaches. Rapidly increasing your intake, or quitting cold turkey, has an equal chance of creating head pain.

Migraine sufferers, in particular, might want to keep caffeine intake to a minimum, researchers found.

“There was a nonlinear association between caffeinated beverage intake and the odds of migraine headache occurrence on that day. This suggests that high levels of caffeinated beverage intake may be a trigger of migraine headaches on that day,” the researchers wrote in their conclusion.