Let’s talk coffee and migraine.
For some of us, coffee can be a trigger, and yet for others, it can help relieve the excruciating pain. So is there any evidence that it works for pain relief? Or is it just a placebo?
There have been (just) a few studies that have investigated this, and you might be pleased to know, there is now evidence that shows it can work for pain relief.
But there’s a catch.
Caffeine’s effect on the brain varies significantly depending on how often you consume it. When consumed occasionally, it can provide relief for migraine, however, with daily (or almost daily) consumption, the brain becomes tolerant to it and therefore unlikely to provide any relief. And there’s such a thing as caffeine dependency — so, you’re actually likely to get a migraine if you don’t get your ‘fix’ (which is a withdrawal type migraine).
It's suggested that caffeine can relieve the pain associated with migraine because it’s a adenosine ‘antagonist’. We’re not neuroscientists, so we’re not going to pretend we know why or how this happens, but there’s evidence to suggest that this naturally occurring brain substance — that can lead to decreased brain electrical activity and temporary widening of the blood vessels — increases during a migraine. … Hence why caffeine’s blocking effect works wonders.
And apparently, you can trigger a migraine if you inject it (adenosine) into a vein #ouch
So, if you’re a regular coffee drinker, the bad news is that your regular cup of coffee isn’t likely to relieve your migraine. But if you drink coffee occasionally, it can likely provide some relief!