Does Caffeine Trigger or Treat Headaches?


Caffeine can be a headache trigger or headache inhibitor. Caffeine can be found in beverages, chocolate and even in some popular over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers.

Before a headache or migraine, blood vessels tend to enlarge. Because it contains “vasoconstrictive” properties that cause the blood vessels to narrow and restrict blood flow, caffeine can aid in head pain relief. When caffeine is added to the combination of acetaminophen and aspirin, the pain relieving effect is increased by 40%.
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Headaches & The Economy

By Suzanne E. Simons
Executive Director of the National Headache Foundation

In a recent online survey, we queried Web site visitors regarding how the economic downturn is affecting them and how they manage their headaches. Not surprisingly, the study reveals headache sufferers make significant changes in headache treatment and prevention methods during a financial crisis. The survey revealed that 82% of respondents claim to have made financial cut-backs due to the current economic situation. For example, more than half (62%) of respondents reported making dietary changes in response to the rising costs of food. Additionally, stress, lack of sleep and anxiety were cited as the top three headache triggers. All of these conditions were also reported as occurring as a result of the economic strain on the participants’ lifestyles. When asked about treatment methods, we found that 63% rely on prescribed medications for their headache. However, the economic toll has caused 29% of the respondents to either delay or skip filling prescriptions for their headache medications. More than half answered that they switched to over-the-counter (OTC) medication instead of using their prescription medication to treat their headaches in an effort to save money. Substituting OTCs may be ineffective for treating migraine, causing undue pain and suffering. Other survey results demonstrated that 43% of respondents said they have made changes in spending on healthcare purchases such as services or medications. Another 48% reported “concern or uncertainty about the future” as a headache trigger. An even 50% of respondents attributed dietary changes as having an effect on their headaches. So what can you do to weather this economic storm? Here are a few tips: Continue Reading

Ask the Pharmacist: OTC Medications for Menstrual Migraine

Migraine occurs approximately three times more frequently in women than men. The exact reason(s) for this difference is not completely understood, but hormone fluctuations are considered to be a main culprit. Approximately three out of four women with migraine experience attacks that correspond to their menstrual cycle or endure their most severe attacks during this time.

Menstrual migraine typically occurs in a predictable pattern. Headache diaries are useful for discerning this pattern, which is necessary for diagnosis and to time treatment appropriately. Once menstrual migraine is confirmed, drug treatments can be taken in an anticipatory manner to help maximize their ability to reduce or eliminate migraine pain and associated symptoms. Continue Reading