Asian woman with headache

Why Coffee Can (and Can’t) Give You Headaches

May 25, 2020

It’s not as simple as ‘drink less coffee’ or ‘drink more coffee’, is it?

If you’re a coffee drinker, you probably know that drinking too much coffee can give you a headache. But did you know that caffeine can also help get rid of them as well?

In fact, if you take pain relievers, there is a good chance that caffeine is an ingredient in them!

There are actually over 200 different types of headaches, classified as either primary or secondary. 90% of the time, if you have a headache it will be primary and nothing too serious to worry about. These types of headache are generally caused from blood vessels in your head becoming enlarged. What caffeine does is help reduce inflammation which ultimately brings relief! It can also keep the pain away for up to 40% longer when combined with medicine like aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen!

Now let’s talk about the ugly truth. Coffee can - and often could - be the cause of your headaches. This can really come in two different forms:

One: you drank too much coffee and now your head is spinning and irritable. This is as simple as the saying, “the difference between a medicine and a poison is the dose”. Caffeine can be an amazing stimulant in a lot of ways, but too much of a good thing is not great. We recommend not drinking more than 400 mg of coffee a day.

Two: you haven’t had coffee in a couple of days and now your body is going through withdrawals. It is really easy for your body to get so used to the effects of caffeine, so when you don’t have it in your system, you start to suffer from withdrawal. This can even happen with as little as drinking one cup of coffee a day regularly and then stopping!

Really the solution to all of this is quite simple: either you need to drink more coffee, or you need to drink less coffee. Take the time to measure how you respond to different levels of caffeine intake, and balance that with your love of coffee and caffeine’s wonderful energy-inducing effects. Only then will you truly determine whether coffee helps or causes headaches for you specifically. But really we recommend that should probably just drink more coffee.