I know – caffeine is a touchy subject for most people, but if you suffer from chronic headaches or migraines, this is an important tool to help you control your headache/migraine pain, and I’ll show you exactly how to use it. Just decide whether your coffee fix is more important to you than having more time in your life without pain. If you opt for a less pain-filled life, then read on.

Most of us don’t think anything of grabbing a coffee in the morning, having some to sip on at work, then maybe some sodas… and that is rather moderate caffeine consumption for most Americans. However, caffeine is a powerful tool in the fight against migraines and chronic headache pain, and when used right, can take the place of over-the-counter drugs and even prescription medications at least some of the time.


Migraines and headaches attack the cardiovascular system – that’s why Imitrex is so effective on migraines, because it reverses the cardiovascular effect. So does caffeine – in a milder way - but only when you don’t consume it all the time.

When I went off caffeine, I would take a cup of caffeinated tea at the first sign of headache/migraine onset and I experienced significant reduction or even elimination of pain within about 30 minutes. I’ve used this with my clients and recommended to friends or anyone I meet who is experiencing migraine pain, and depending where they are in the migraine cycle, the difference can be astounding. Even having tea once the migraine has ‘bloomed’ can still help a bit, and taking it with a prescription or an OTC pain reliever like ibuprofen makes the medication work much quicker and more efficiently. That’s why medications like Excedrin contain caffeine – to help the medications work better, faster.

Interested? Here’s the process for safely setting yourself up for success:

First, you will need to get off the caffeine, but you should never go off a long-time caffeine habit cold turkey or you WILL get some amazing detox headaches. Step it down gradually over a couple of weeks, just by cutting one beverage a day (or switch to decaf, herbal tea, water…) until you’re down to one, and then go to one every other day, etc until you’re off it. You can still have an occasional coffee, tea or soda when you really want it, just not more than one a week if you want the best caffeine benefits.

At the same time, increase your water consumption. Studies show that dehydration can trigger migraines, and so while you’re getting rid of that dehydrating caffeine anyway, why not replace it with water? Also, I strongly recommend staying away from diet sodas and other diet drinks, as the chemicals can also add to migraine problems as well as causing inflammation in the body, they are full of sodium, another dehydrator, and even sugar-free drinks can spike your blood sugar, causing a release of insulin into the body, which your body doesn’t need. So if you prefer a flavored drink, mix fruit juice with filtered water, about 1 part juice to 8 parts water. Add stevia for sweetness if desired. Or squeeze a fresh lemon wedge into your water, add some stevia and a little cayenne pepper for a healthy, spicy, blood-purifying lemonade. Within two weeks, you’ll start to realize you can life without all that morning coffee and soda.

Ok, we’re off the caffeine... now what?

When you first feel a headache or migraine coming on, make a nice cup of black tea. I prefer something with a fabulous frangrance like Vanilla Chai or Earl Grey – experiment to find one you like that smells soothing to you when you have a headache. Stay away from coffee, as the acids can make migraine symptoms worse. Don’t add sugar or cream – these are often irritants to the body. If you like it sweet, add some stevia, or if you feel a bit light-headed, try some honey – about a teaspoon. Sip the tea slowly while it’s hot, and relax your neck and shoulders. You can download a great migraine relaxation audio here:

www.balancedlifetoday.com/migraines.htm which will teach you deep breathing, walk you through a head/neck/shoulders relaxation and a progressive relaxation as well.

If after the first cup you still feel some pain, go ahead and have another one. Don’t exceed 2 cups of tea within a couple of hours. Be sure and be sipping on water as well to hydrate the body. If it’s a bad headache, try lying down with a cold pack on the back of your neck (put a towel around the pack) and if you have a lot of shoulder tension, you can use a heating pad on the lower area of the shoulders, but only do that if you’re using a cold pack on the neck. I also love the cold gel eye packs – I put a damp washcloth over my eyes and a cold pack over that for fast relief.

I finally got into the last leg of my journey once I figured out the caffeine connection, and was able to have a lot less time in pain. Now I’m completely migraine free, but still use caffeine for any regular headaches that come along.

For a lot of people, using caffeine the right way can make a huge impact on migraines and chronic headaches. I’d love to hear how you do with it – please email me at jana@balancedlifetoday.com and let me know your experience.

Author's Bio: 

Jana Beeman is a Certified Health and Fitness Counselor, AADP Certified, Certified Yoga and Modified Yoga Instructor, Meditation, Hypnosis and EFT trainer and a specialist in chronic migraine pain relief.

Visit www.balancedlifetoday.com/migraines.htm for information on her migraine programs and to sign up for her free Migraine Management Newsletter with more informative articles and great tips on migraine control. She offers frequent teleseminars, podcasts and presentations at your location are available. Free 30-minute consultations about her program and how it might help you with your migraines are available on a limited basis. Call (360) 263-5800 or email jana@balancedlifetoday.com.

Read more of her articles on SelfGrowth.com at http://www.selfgrowth.com/experts/jana_beeman.

Permission is granted to reprint this article in its entirety including all contact information. All rights reserved. March 2011.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to replace a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Health care decisions should be made in partnership with a qualified health care professional. The contents of this article are based upon the opinions of Jana Beeman unless otherwise noted. The information provided is for entertainment purposes only and Jana Beeman will not diagnose, treat or cure in any manner whatsoever any disease, condition or other physical or mental ailment of the human body.