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How to Get Rid of a Caffeine Headache

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The pounding starts behind your eyes and slowly leads up to your forehead until the throbbing is too much to handle. It’s been too many hours since you’ve downed an iced coffee, and sitting in that morning meeting didn’t help. So what do you do for caffeine pain relief? And what exactly causes a caffeine headache?

Caffeine is addictive, so when you miss your daily soda or latte by even a few hours, it’s likely that a bad caffeine headache will plague you. It’s similar to detoxing from drugs, which is why quitting cold turkey causes a person to have severe headaches and feel hot or faint. What is actually happening, according to expert Laura M. Juliano, is the blood vessels in your brain are constricting, or over-dilating, to cause your head to hurt.

Caffeine headaches typically come on about 30 minutes before the body needs a dose of caffeine, and then go away within half an hour to an hour after drinking a caffeinated beverage. The director of Behavioral Pharmacology and Health Promotion at American University in Washington, DC, says even missing a small cup of coffee – equal to about 100 milligrams of caffeine – can cause withdrawal symptoms in a regular caffeine drinker. For example, if a man drinks a cup of coffee every morning while traveling for work, he will go through a pattern of caffeine withdrawal if he returns home and doesn’t continue to drink at least one cup of coffee each morning.

To get rid of a caffeine headache, take a pain reliever like aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Make sure to drink water to rehydrate and then get plenty of rest. Sleeping off a caffeine headache is the best way to relieve the pain of caffeine withdrawal.

According to expert Dr. Joseph, studies have shown caffeine plays a role in people who had consistent migraines or chronic headaches. Those who had minor headaches once in a while got worse when caffeine was introduced, especially daily, said the assistant professor of Neurology at Baylor College of Medicine and Chief of Neurology Service at Houston’s Ben Taub General Hospital.

Caffeine has actually been proven to relieve pain, and a number of over-the-counter pain medications have caffeine as an ingredient. Scientists think the reason is because caffeine helps medication to enter the bloodstream quicker than without it. However, don’t go drinking an entire six-pack of sodas at the moment you start to feel an ache somewhere. Too much caffeine can cause insomnia, stomachache, mood swings, and acid reflux. Caffeine is best in moderation.

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