Hi gang – lately I’ve been drinking coffee again. Daily. This was not even remotely on the cards just one year ago. I have been sort of getting away with it – sort of. I love the stuff of course. I’d drink 15 cups a day if I could.
What I’m noticing though is that I appear to have developed a similar thing on coffee as I did on pain killers. It’s not at all much different how crappy I began to feel on pain killers last year. The usual drill is this (exactly as it was on aspirin):
- Wake in the morning with a sore neck, bad headache, crappy sleep and cranky dopey, foggy feeling for the first few hours of the day.
- A shower makes things much worse
- I arrive at work and have my shot of coffee to relieve the head pain. The coffee works and I feel much better for about 2 hours.
- The headache returns but much worse and I cannot work or concentrate very well. Vision is continuously blurry.
Normally in the past I’d have more aspirin but there’s no way I’d have another coffee. Tomorrow I’m on the coffee wagon to flush it all out of my system. I’m quite certain I’ll return to normal within 4-5 days just like when I stopped the aspirin last year.
Anyway, thought I’d bring this up just in case some of you are getting possible coffee rebound headaches and overall crappy migraine symptoms through your body but haven’t quite connected the dots.
I know we’re not supposed to take painkillers and I gave them all (I used to take them pretty much everyday) up over 2 years ago but before I was with Dr S I had a neurologist who was quite wise on migraine well at least the meds and he put me on 1 aspirin a day as well as the meds I don’t know why, but I always forget to mention it to Dr S so I still take it am I doing the wrong thing?.
Yes, I think this is potentially problematic though I am in no position to tell you what to do of course nor would I. I can only inform you about how this affected me, how I was advised by Dr Granot and what other health professionals say about this.
I was using pain killers – namely aspirin – off and on for years. Then last year I got into this phase where I was taking it daily for months and months. I’d come to work and start the day by knocking back 300 mg to take out my headache. I’d usually have another one around 2-3 pm depending on how my neck was or if I had inadvertently been exposed to another trigger. In the end aspirin made me VERY ill. I felt shocking all the time but didn’t quite get it. I woke up feeling bad and showers were making my head very fogged and sore (I have an allodynia problem with my scalp). Just thought I was in a particularly bad migraine phase or worse, that my migraine problem had morphed and just got worse.
So I saw Granot because I was getting desperate and my work and life were suffering quite badly. When I saw him that day last Sept I already had a feeling aspirin was a major culprit. Granot confimed it within about 5 minutes of the appt and told me to get off of it and to not take any painkillers at all. Zero. I stopped cold turkey and sure enough within about a week I felt much much better and eventually shook off a lot of the misery though my neck was still not fixed up (that was in December last year).
Prof Nick Silver in the UK, who is arguably one of the best in his class and the migraine specialist people go to when all else fails, will tell you that caffeine and painkillers are out. Period. And so I appear to fit his characterisation of the typical chronic migraineur – both painkillers and coffee are bad news for me. I do think I can sneak coffee in occasionally but not daily like I have been doing. I have no intention of ever touching a painkiller again except perhaps if I have a really bad cold and need a few hours relief.
And so if you are taking aspirin or any painkiller daily I would really revisit that to see if you absolutely need it. Are you having daily headache? How do you feel day-to-day? I’d probably do my best to get off of it. Of course, you should always feel free to discuss your medicines and their use with your physician.
Hope that helps,
Caffeine is supposed to be one of the worst possible triggers for migraineurs as we all know. It was the hardest thing for me to give up. But eventually I did. But for me, I didn’t feel any better and felt even more lethargic. But I stayed off it for a very long time. But once I found a good drug (thank you Dr Fife) I started coffee again knowing it might trigger my symptoms. I feel so lucky to say that it doesn’t! MAV makes me so tired all of the time and coffee is the only thing that gives me a relief from that drowsiness. However, if i go overboard like i do sometimes, my symptoms scream back at me. I love my Starbucks. I totally think I am in the minority of MAVers with this though! I can see physiologically how caffeine affects our brains.
But Scott, your particular case of symptoms most definitely sound like Coffee is the culprit. I hope you are feeling ok as you come off of it as I know it’s like being hit by a Mac truck.
Let us know how it goes with the “no caffeine”!
Mary, you are not alone, I have come off all painkillers for 3 months at a time 3 or 4 times in the last 10 years and each time I felt dizzier and more tired. I then tried giving up painkillers with caffeine in them and still the same.
I have worked out that I function better with tiny pieces of painkiller with a tiny amount of caffeine, on a good day, a total of one quarter to one half of a painkiller with caffeine in one day. Without it I am a dizzy mess.
I do not take caffeine in any other form on a daily basis.
On the subject of coffee. Last year I got hooked on those lovely coffees you drink out, but I only drank the decaf. I had a total of 7 severe vertigo attacks in 5 months and couldn’t work out the problem, I was blaming the food I ate at a restaurant etc. but I was always eating something different, then I realized every time, I was drinking decaf coffee and was feeling sick on the way home. I stopped all coffee didn’t have a severe vertigo attack for 6 months, until I attended a friends funeral (pretty obvious it was the stress of the event that caused that one). This may have been the chemicals they use to decaf but I am not taking any chances, oh and I had a vertigo attack (severe again) the day after eating tiramisu, coffee again so this is a pretty obvious trigger for me.
I am OK with decaf tea.
Saw this today on the following link. Nothing new really but I do find the headache is better after consumption for about 2-3 hours then BOOM, it’s back. My head is killing me right now at work – no coffee today.
"Regular caffeine consumption leads to physical dependence on caffeine, which manifests as withdrawal symptoms when a caffeine user abruptly stops using caffeine. A diffuse throbbing headache is a hallmark feature of caffeine withdrawal. The reason for this is that one of the pharmacological effects of caffeine is a constriction of blood vessels in the brain.
When someone regularly drinks caffeine, the body adjusts in essence fighting this effect. Then when caffeine isn’t consumed the result is that blood vessels dilate too much, which causes a headache. It takes a little while for the body to readjust to not having caffeine and that is why caffeine withdrawal headaches can persist for a week or more. A person doesn’t have to be a very heavy caffeine user to experience a caffeine withdrawal headache. It varies from person to person but even as little as a small cup of coffee (100 mg of caffeine) each day could lead to withdrawal if someone stops caffeine abruptly.
Caffeine can cure headaches that are caused by caffeine withdrawal. In fact, most people experiencing a caffeine withdrawal headache will feel better within 30 to 60 minutes of consuming caffeine.
If someone is headache-prone, they should avoid using caffeine regularly.
But caffeine is a two-edged sword. The other side of the coin is if you take a lot of caffeine and then stop it, you can have a withdrawal headache. A lot of people drink coffee during the week, and then don’t have it on the weekends, and they get a headache.
While many people believe caffeine cures headaches because it is a vasoconstrictor, caffeine has minimal vasoconstrictive properties; it’s ability to help headaches is related to its complex properties in the pain pathways. It is not just due to a vasoconstriction that’s an oversimplification."
Yes–caffiene=bad. Unless of course you are in the throws of an acute migraine, at which point it is sometimes a life saver (if you ever have to get a lumbar puncture–make sure to have some Mountain Dew in the house–per Doctor’s orders!!! :roll: )
That said, and I know that even decaf has something like 25-40% caff depending on the process and the brand, but I have 2 cups of decaf coffee in the morning because I am addicted to the a.m. coffee ritual. I cannot stand herbal tea–tried for weeks to learn to like it–sorry but it is colored water with some weird tastes mixed in–clearly my ancestors were not English :lol:
Thank goodness the decaf seems to not hassle me now that the topomax has settled in for me and I can enjoy the a.m. de-joe. It’s fake, but I like to pretend.
GOod advice in the long haul though Scott–too many of us are taking in WAY TOO MUCH CAFFIENE–and they are adding it to EVERYTHING!!! Watch your ingredients lists everyone–they even tried to add it to gum in the US last year!!
I can only just now, drink decaf with very few problems. If I have more than 1-2 a day, they make me feel worse. And caffeine is a huge no-no!! real coffee - the stuff kills me. When I was feeling well I attempted a diet coke and was completely spiral-sideways for the rest of the day, horrible stuff. I also avoid any painkillers and just take the meds I’m on due to rebound problems like you stated Scott. I hope you feel better in the next few days, it really does take our brains time to heal x
All in all, having this condition really sucks! It’s so complex and too many things affect us. And in turn, people think we’re crazy.
Just keeping it real! That’s all!!!
Have you tried Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof coffee? I haven’t, but he talks a lot about how normal coffee can make you feel sick because of toxins. However, caffeine is caffeine…which is obviously a double edge sword for us with migraines.
…But if you like your coffee, you may want to checkout this interview he did with Joe Rogan. He apparently mixes his coffee with healthy fats so the caffeine is a slow release. I wonder if the slow release will make the pain of rebound headaches less? I was thinking of giving it a shot, but caffeine can mess me up for a few days.
Here’s the interview: Actual interview starts around 14:45 mins