Migraines, Headaches, and Caffeine
Reprinted from WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/guide/triggers-caffeine
Caffeine can be both beneficial and harmful for a headache sufferer. It can serve as a treatment or, in some cases, can cause withdrawal or rebound headaches.
What Is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a commonly used drug that increases alertness, decreases fatigue, and improves muscle coordination. Though coffee comes to mind as the most common source of caffeine, it's also naturally found in tea and chocolate, and it is often added to soft drinks and non-prescription drugs like pain-relievers and cold remedies. People vary in their sensitivity to caffeine. If used excessively, caffeine can be too stimulating and cause anxiety, sleep problems, muscle twitching, or abdominal pain.
How Does Caffeine Treat Headaches?
Caffeine is a common ingredient in many prescription and over-the-counter headache medications (see list below). Caffeine additives make pain relievers 40% more effective in treating headaches. Caffeine also helps the body absorb headache drugs more quickly, bringing faster relief. By adding caffeine and, in turn, taking less medication, you can reduce the risk for potential side effects and possible drug addiction.
I used a generic "Pain Away" medication one time. It got me through a bout with sinus infection. Later, I wondered how to get some more, so I looked up the ingredients and found acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine. I thought the caffeine sounded odd, so I looked it up, and sure enough, it's used in headache pain relievers.
(turned out the Pain Away was a generic Excedrin)