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What is a caffeine headache and how can you cure or prevent it?

On an ill prepared camping trip with friends going up to the peak district for the Bank Holiday, one of the Decadent Decaf team forgot one critical ingredient: coffee.

During that ill-fated weekend when they climbed up Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain (not much competition though), one by one they all started getting headaches.

At first, the head was just a little sore. Was it that last pint in the pub the previous night?

But, no, it got worse and worse, a heavy throbbing headache, which even paracetamol didn’t placate…

The situation was only remedied on the drive back from conquering Scafell Pike, the English rain and camping on a slope when this merry party had their first coffee at the motorway service station.

Within minutes, the headache was no more and was now a distant memory.

Except, a big lesson was learnt: bring coffee along to a camping expedition in the middle of nowhere and not a barista in sight.

This was a caffeine headache.

So what exactly is a caffeine headache and what can be done about it?

A caffeine induced headache often begins behind the eyes and then up to the front of the forehead and can get worse and worse. Indeed, caffeine headaches have been known to trigger migraines.

So, how does it come about?

Essentially, this is the body reacting to caffeine withdrawal. Most of us are, whether we like it or not, addicted to caffeine. In many cases, this has few side cases, but for some of us, caffeine can have side effects like tremors, stress, sleep problems and issues with our bodily functions.

So, if we even reduced our caffeine intake by even a small amount, say 50-100 mg, equivalent to a small Americano, our bodies can soon react to the withdrawal with a mild headache.

If caffeine is cut out altogether and you go “cold turkey”, the effects can be far worse with really strong headaches.

In the cold turkey scenario, you have 3 options:

  • Consume more caffeine to stop the headaches. Continue your caffeine habit.

 

  • Take painkillers and ride out the caffeine headache. The best for caffeine headaches are ibuprofen and aspirin. You should feel clear of caffeine withdrawal’s effects over the following week. Drink plenty of water.

 

  • Consume more caffeine to stop the headaches, then cut out caffeine more gradually.

 

With Option 3 – cutting out caffeine more gradually – this is the most sensible option. To find out more about doing a Caffeine Detox, please visit out blog post called How To Quite Caffeine In One Week.

Decaf coffee can be a useful way of both detoxing from caffeine and gradually reducing your dependence on regular coffee. For more information about Swiss Water Decaf, please visit out Swiss Water Decaf Coffee page.

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