When one comes across literature about migraine and the identified triggers, caffeine is always mentioned as one of the culprits that could potentially start an attack. Hence, there is indeed a migraine caffeine connection that exists. How does consumption of this substance affect the occurrence of migraine?
Caffeine is a plant-based substance that has a bitter taste. It is a known stimulant that affects an organism's nervous system. Even with this property, its use is not regulated or controlled; hence, caffeine is very much a part of our lives because it can be found in coffee, cocoa, tea and sodas that we drink everyday. Although it is not addictive in the way that drugs are, the body can build a tolerance towards it over time if taken regularly. If this is halted abruptly, withdrawal also occurs, characterized by painful headaches. This is why some people cannot go through their day without their morning coffee fixes.
The caffeine migraine link has been the subject of numerous studies and results have not been very conclusive. While most believe that caffeine is a migraine trigger, it has also been found to bring faster relief from migraine attacks. In fact, it is used by drug manufacturers as an ingredient in headache medicines. It is said that in the past, Coca-Cola was even marketed as a headache remedy.
One of the properties of caffeine is its ability to constrict the blood vessels. It is this specific ability that makes it useful for migraine sufferers because attacks are caused by the expansion of blood vessels in the brain. Medications prescribed for migraine headaches focus on stopping the expansion of the vessels and bringing them back to normal size. This is something that caffeine can do. Some migraineurs have already developed the practice of drinking coke or coffee when they feel the first sign of a migraine attack and have attested to the effectiveness of caffeine as a preventive measure. This alone proves the existence of a migraine caffeine connection.
Caffeine possesses other properties that a migraineur has to be aware of if he plans to use it to fight migraine. It is a diuretic and increases the excretion of urine from the body. When this happens, other substances are expelled as well, including magnesium, a mineral needed by those who suffer from migraine. In addition, caffeine affects the level of blood sugar in the body especially when taken with large amounts of sugar. Fluctuations can cause a headache and the benefit that caffeine is supposed to provide has now been reversed. To prevent this from occurring, beverages containing it must never be ingested on an empty stomach.
If the migraine caffeine connection is to be made a part of migraine relief therapy, it is essential to bear in mind that the consistency of intake matters as much as the quantity. Any change in diet must not be abrupt and the amounts taken should be more or less the same every day. In this way, the treatment will provide the most benefits.