For many people, the thought of giving up caffeine completely is a nightmare. But when you balance it with the possibility of getting more effective migraine treatment, it might seem worth it.
The relationship between caffeine and migraines is complicated. Many people report that caffeine can trigger their migraines, but others report that caffeine helps their migraines and caffeine is a common ingredient in over-the-counter migraine headache medications.
But a new study sheds light on the link between caffeine and migraines, and shows that giving up caffeine can make migraine treatment more effective.
A Prospective Study
For this study, researchers recruited 108 migraine patients who consumed caffeine drinks daily. They were asked to stop consuming caffeine. After at least two weeks, researchers followed up with patients to find out which ones had given up caffeine and whether this had any impact on the effectiveness of their acute migraine treatments.
With a median follow-up of about 35 days, 36 patients had given up caffeine completely. Of these patients, 26 (72%) reported “excellent” efficacy of their acute migraine treatment. Of the non-abstinence group, 29 (40%) reported “excellent” efficacy of their migraine treatment. After correcting for various confounders, researchers found that people who gave up caffeine were 3.2 times more likely to experience excellent treatment results.
They also found that people who abstained from caffeine were more likely to report a reduction in the impact migraines had on their lives, assessed using the HIT-6 questionnaire.
This study has some limitations. First, it only looks at acute migraine treatment–the use of triptans to control a migraine once it’s already occurring. Second, it’s a pretty small trial, so we have to take its results with caution. Finally, the study isn’t fully blinded or placebo-controlled, so psychological factors like the placebo effect could be making a difference here.
Detox Your Body to Improve Migraine Treatment
Researchers in this study compared the use of caffeine to the use of OTC headache medications. Although it might initially provide some relief, over time it can contribute to medication overuse migraines, and the effect of caffeine on your system can interfere with the efficacy of your migraine medications.
Just as many doctors recommend detoxing your body from OTC pain relievers when you start prescription migraine medication, researchers propose that caffeine cessation can help improve migraine treatments.
Are You Looking for More Effective Migraine Treatment?
Many people don’t get good results from their migraine treatments. For some people, caffeine may be the problem. If you consume caffeine daily, talk to your doctor about caffeine abstinence and see if it may help.
Of course, the problem may be that your migraines have an unrecognized cause, like TMJ. If your current migraine treatment isn’t working and you have other TMJ symptoms, it’s likely that TMJ treatment can reduce your migraines.