Drinks with caffeine such as tea, soda, and energy drinks may be a trigger OR a treatment for an individual who suffers migraines.

caffeine and migrainesCaffeine stimulates the central nervous system, increasing attention span, movement, thought processes and alertness. It also improves muscle coordination and can sometimes remove the call to sleep from the body for several hours. Some individuals with migraines report drinking a caffeinated drink can halt their migraine, and while more research is needed, some studies say caffeine may help.

Scientists don’t understand why migraines are so debilitating. They also don’t understand their cause. There have been multiple theories about headaches, such as over-dilated blood vessels in the brain. Now researchers believe that the nerves in the brain have been improperly stimulated.

While the blood theory has been replaced among scientists specializing in headache research, some common prescribed medications for migraine relief, such as triptans and beta blockers, do appear to aid vascular processes. However, alleviating headache pain with caffeine is possible because caffeine reacts with a natural molecule called adenosine. The caffeine binds to adenosine receptor sites to block the effects of it. While we know that caffeinated drinks may help with migraine pain, how the adenosine contributes to the headaches is not fully understood.

The human brain can have a physical dependence on caffeine, and thus go through withdrawal. This can occur after as few as seven days of exposure to caffeine. It is believed that the withdrawal symptoms trigger the headache, and that caffeine molecule itself is not a trigger.

Treatment options such as Excedrin feature caffeine as an ingredient, alongside aspirin or acetaminophen. The caffeine may perform two functions on the brain, relieving migraine pain but also helping the body absorb other medications. It also can work in synergy with other drugs, improving their effectiveness by forty percent.

More than 15 headache days per month for more than three months is known as chronic migraines. Migraines have been linked to other health concerns, such as metabolism, tension, and obesity.  Researchers believe that future studies can reveal the components of how it all works together in a combination of neurological, endocrine, metabolism, genetic and vascular elements. The process can frustrate researchers and migraine sufferers because caffeine can be both a trigger and a treatment. However, the neurological school of thought is shining new light on treatment. Stress is a known trigger for migraines and many believe mindfulness meditation is a good way to manage it. The journal Headache published a study demonstrating individuals who meditated for 30 minutes per day had significantly shorter migraines.

Experts stress that it is important to recognize and eliminate migraine triggers, and try to prevent these debilitating headaches. Treating the headache upon arrival is the most effective way to manage the condition, and individuals who suffer migraines should gradually reduce their intake of caffeine.

Because every individual is different, migraine sufferers should log which treatments work for them, so they can manage their headaches more effectively. It will take a combined effort of different regimens to find what will work best for you.

The trick is knowing and listening to your body and finding a natural functional practitioner that will help you through the process.

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