People who suffer from migraine headaches on a regular basis have an intimate understanding of how painful they can be. It is thought migraine pain is caused by the rapid constriction and dilation of blood vessels in the head and neck. This rapid alteration, especially the rapid dilation, can cause a rush of blood to the area, causing the throbbing pain that is normally felt with a migraine.
Unfortunately, this pain is also accompanied by other symptoms including nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound. One of the more non-traditional methods for treating migraines, which has come to light in recent years, is the moderate use of caffeine. Caffeine for migraines may, at first, seem like an unusual suggestion when the general public has been told for many years that it is a major contributor to causing headaches.
Migraine treatments traditionally involve medications that work to regulate the constriction and dilation of the blood vessels in the head and neck. Regulating these actions of the blood vessels can significantly reduce the pain felt during a migraine headache episode. Most prescription medication popularly available for migraine treatments now contain a small level of caffeine, which is though to work with the painkiller properties of the medication to make relief more effective and immediate.
For reasons not yet determined, doctors have discovered higher than normal levels of a particular chemical in the body, adenosine. In normal circumstances, adenosine has anti-inflammatory properties that promote pain relief. In migraine headache patients, the adenosine works to dilate the blood vessels in the head and neck, causing worsening pain during an episode. Caffeine for migraines blocks the adenosine and decreases the pain felt by the patient.
One of the most important admonitions doctors can offer when suggesting caffeine for migraine headache relief is to use it in moderation. However, withdrawal from this chemical can cause more painful headaches, including an increase in the frequency of migraines. Quitting caffeine cold turkey can lead to these types of withdrawal headaches, where as the gradual decrease in consumption instead can help in avoiding incidences of withdrawal headaches.
The popularly recommended dosage of caffeine, when the intake is through caffeinated beverages such as coffee, is between 250 and 300 micrograms per day. This is equivalent to one to two cups of coffee or one caffeinated soda, which can provide significant migraine headache relief. For those patients who are on a restricted diet or cannot intake caffeinated beverages, over the counter migraine treatments often include a minimum dose of it in order to provide migraine relief.
Migraine pain is one of the worst headache pains that can be felt by anyone. There is no known cause for migraines and they can be chronic or singular episodes. People who have never felt the pain of a migraine headache cannot understand the level of agony and discomfort that is felt by a migraine sufferer. Caffeine as a migraine headache treatment provides some hope for the future of migraine diagnosis and treatment.