Headaches: Is there a link to caffeine?

22 January 2016
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22 January 2016, Comments: 0

There is a connection between headaches and caffeine. It is important to note that caffeine can be used as a treatment or trigger withdrawal. Remember that with proper information and moderation, caffeine is an effective treatment for headache.

Treatment for a headache

Caffeine is a common component in various prescription and over-the-counter headache medications. Since analgesics work more rapidly and efficiently with caffeine, many individuals are able to take less medication.

Caffeine additives are responsible for making pain medications more effective. It also helps the body absorb medications more rapidly, thus providing the individual with relief sooner. The addition of the substance and using less medication reduces the risk for potential side effects as well as minimizes the risk for habitual or additive use.

Sources of caffeine

Headaches and caffeine

Rebound headaches are a condition that develops due to overuse or misuse of any headache medications including those that contain the substance.


  • Cocoa mix, chocolate flavoring and malt powder
  • Chocolate milk, hot chocolate, chocolate milkshakes and chocolate drinks
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Chocolate or coffee liqueurs

Take note that caffeine-free as well as decaffeinated beverages also contain small amounts of caffeine.


  • Chocolate ice cream or pudding
  • Chocolate products including cake, brownies, etc.
  • Chocolate candies including fudge and chocolate-coated raisins, coconut and peanuts
  • Chocolate-covered graham crackers

Caffeine and withdrawal

Always bear in mind that caffeine withdrawal from the accustomed intake is uncommon. Nevertheless, with excessive use usually over 500 mg (about 5 cups of coffee) on a daily basis for a long period of time can lead to withdrawal symptoms if the intake is abruptly stopped.

Withdrawal can be avoided by reducing the daily intake, being familiar with other sources and by steadily reducing the intake instead of stopping in an abrupt manner.

Link between caffeine and rebound headaches

Rebound headaches are a condition that develops due to overuse or misuse of any headache medications including those that contain the substance. Medications that contain caffeine can be considered beneficial. On the other hand, once these are combined with the consumption of caffeine from other sources, the individual is at risk for rebound headaches.

The individual must limit consumption to only 2 cups of coffee in a day and limit the use of pain medications, either over-the-counter or prescription medications to 2 days a week in order to prevent rebound headaches.

Take note that relief from rebound headaches can be accomplished by eliminating the use of any headache medications. Nevertheless, this can only be done under the supervision of a doctor.

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