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Is Coffee Good or Bad for Migraines? Benefits & Downsides

man pouring coffee

Did you know that coffee can treat, prevent, and cause migraines? That makes coffee extremely useful if you are trying to get migraines under control, but if you’re not careful, it can quickly become the root cause of your migraines.

That can be challenging to take in and understand, so here’s a guide to walk you through everything that you need to know. We break down the science on how coffee can help treat and prevent migraines and highlight how it’s also the most likely cause of headaches in the world!1

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Can Coffee Help With Migraines?

The short answer to this question is that coffee can help with migraines. But there are two reasons for this.

First, if you’re a regular coffee drinker and miss your daily fix, there’s a good chance that you’re going to experience withdrawal migraines. Simply getting your coffee fix will take care of the migraine because you’re giving your body the caffeine that it’s craving.

Second, if you don’t routinely drink coffee if you get a migraine, all you might need is a cup of coffee to help. Coffee naturally constricts blood vessels, and since the primary cause of headaches is swelling blood vessels, this can bring relief. But it’s important to note that it’s the caffeine in the coffee that causes these constrictions, so if you’re trying to get relief with a cup of decaf, it’s not going to work.

woman holding a pink cup of coffee
Image Credit: Svitlana Hulko, Shutterstock

Can Coffee Cause Migraines?

While drinking coffee likely won’t cause a migraine, when you drink a large amount of coffee, your body becomes dependent on the caffeine. When you stop drinking coffee or miss your daily cup, a withdrawal migraine is an extremely common symptom.

So, while the cup of coffee isn’t the cause of the migraine when you’re drinking it, all it might take is for you to stop drinking coffee for a migraine to occur. Still, it’s important to note that the lack of coffee isn’t causing the migraine, it’s the withdrawal of caffeine.

Using Coffee to Treat Migraines

If you’re not a regular coffee drinker, coffee can be a great way to treat the occasional migraine. A cup of coffee will constrict the blood vessels causing the migraine and can help it go away.

In fact, caffeine is so effective in treating migraines that many medications have caffeine to make them more effective. According to WebMD, caffeine can make traditional pain relievers as much as 40% more effective.

But if you’re a regular coffee drinker, your body will build up a tolerance to the caffeine, and if you keep adding more, it can lead to a caffeine overdose, which can cause migraines and other negative side effects.

a cup of coffee on wooden table
Image Credit: Lex Sirikiat, Unsplash

Controlling Your Coffee Intake

Coffee and caffeine can cause, treat, and prevent headaches, but it all comes down to how frequently you drink the stuff. Therefore, we recommend limiting your maximum daily coffee intake, and it’s a good idea to take a break every few days to let your body reset.

The more coffee you drink, the less effective caffeine will be at preventing and treating migraines and the more likely you are to experience migraines if you go a day or two without caffeine.

So, do your best to keep your coffee intake in check, so you can use caffeine to your advantage when a migraine does happen.

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Coffee & Migraines: Final Thoughts

If you’re looking to use coffee to treat or prevent migraines, it’s all going to come down to how much caffeine you usually consume. Coffee can be an effective tool to treat migraines, but if you’re dealing with frequent or chronic migraines, we highly recommend reaching out to your doctor. They can properly inform you of the risks and the best treatment options for you.

Featured Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock


Ollie Jones

Oliver (Ollie) Jones is a zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia. Originally from the US, he thought he loved coffee before his big move down under, but his discovery of the flat white and the cafe on every corner has taken his coffee passion to a whole new level. He's so excited to share his knowledge and experience with readers worldwide (and keep testing coffee drinks while he's at it).

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