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Why a Caffeine Headache Occurs and Caffeine Withdrawal

Woman with her head down on her desk and several coffee cups

Many people can’t imagine starting a single day without a morning cup of coffee. Caffeine is a substance that is generally safe for adults in small doses, but it can become addictive when consumed in excess over time.

Interestingly, caffeine withdrawal can lead to headaches in many individuals, but it is also used in low doses to treat headaches with pain reliever medications.

This article discusses how caffeine affects the body and how caffeine withdrawal can lead to a very painful caffeine headache. It will also address how to get rid of caffeine headache symptoms when they occur and preventative tips for safe caffeine consumption.

What Caffeine Does to the Body

Caffeine is a mild stimulant that comes with a risk of dependency. In the human body, it stimulates the release of stress hormones and adrenaline that provide an energy boost. However, this energy boost doesn’t last all day, and many people experience a “crash” followed by a need for more caffeine to re-stimulate the body.

It is also believed that caffeine blocks receptors in the brain that can dilate blood vessels, which is why caffeine is effective in reducing headaches and other symptoms. Caffeine is potent, which means that the effects of it can typically be felt in 30 minutes or less.

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The Cause of a Caffeine Headache & The Caffeine Headache Location

The most common caffeine headache or, at least initially, is behind the eyes. From there, a caffeine headache may spread to the forehead and elsewhere on the head.

Not only can a caffeine headache be caused by withdrawal, but also excessive caffeine intake, an allergy to caffeine, and varying caffeine consumption from day to day. Caffeine withdrawal headaches can be moderate or severe.

Other Symptoms of Caffeine Withdrawal

In addition to a caffeine headache, other caffeine withdrawal symptoms include sleepiness, irritability, constipation, and insomnia. Individuals may also experience flu-like symptoms, nausea, vomiting, muscle stiffness, dizziness, and even heart rhythm abnormalities if their bodies are suddenly denied a steady dose of caffeine.

These symptoms typically last for a few days but can last longer or be more severe in people who have gotten accustomed to consuming 1,000 milligrams or more of caffeine per day.

How to Get Rid of a Caffeine Headache

To treat a caffeine headache, one of the best things to do is to take a nap or get a good night’s sleep. Rest is often enough to get caffeine headache sufferers back on their feet and feeling good again. This is because the body recalibrates itself and readjusts its natural chemistry during periods of quality rest.

To overcome a caffeine headache and other caffeine withdrawal symptoms, it is also a good idea to detoxify the body with healthy and whole foods to boost nerve functioning and blood circulation. Magnesium-rich foods, like spinach and almonds, and vitamin C-rich foods, like oranges and Brussels sprouts, are great additions to meals when overcoming a caffeine addiction.

However, it’s important to remember that caffeine isn’t inherently bad and when it is consumed in moderation, it may actually help enhance exercise performance, mood, and heart health. If caffeine headaches are an ongoing issue, consider slowly reducing the daily caffeine intake and switching to low-caffeine or caffeine-free tea as an alternative to other caffeinated beverages.

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Vanquish® is indicated for tension headaches. If you have a cluster headache, sinus headache, migraine headache or any other type of headache you may want to consult a doctor.

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