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Does Caffeine Cure Headaches?

You’ve heard the old wives’ tale: If you have a headache, drink a cup of coffee.

Is there is truth to that tale? Does caffeine cure headaches?

Doctors say yes and no.  Caffeine can be a headache trigger or headache inhibitor — depending on the person and the type of headache he or she is experiencing.

Before a headache or migraine, blood vessels tend to enlarge. Because it contains “vasoconstrictive” properties that cause the blood vessels to narrow and restrict blood flow, caffeine can provide some relief for head pain. In fact, doctors say that when caffeine is added to the combination of acetaminophen and aspirin, the pain relieving effect is increased by 40%.

Though caffeine does not directly cause headache, too much of the substance can trigger “caffeine rebound.” A caffeine rebound headache occurs from withdrawal of caffeine after a sufferer continually consumes too much of the substance. Though the physical side effects can be severe, only 2% of the population suffers from caffeine rebound.

Although most headache sufferers can consume up to 200 mg. of caffeine per day, the doctors advise patients with frequent headaches to avoid daily use. The average American consumes about 200-300 mg of caffeine a day (or the equivalent of 2-3 cups of drip coffee).

To help monitor your caffeine intake, here is the the caffeine content for common beverages, according to the National Headache Foundation.


Coffee (5 oz. cup)

Regular—106-164 mg

Decaffeinated—2-5 mg

Espresso (1 oz. cup)—30-50 mg

Tea (black tea assumed, 5 oz. cup)

Brewed, major U.S. brands

-1 minute brew—20-80 mg

-3 minute brew—21-33 mg

-5 minute brew—35-46 mg

Canned iced tea—39-50 mg

Iced tea (12 oz.)—67-76 mg

Instant tea—22-36 mg

Soft drinks

Mountain Dew (12 oz.)—54 mg

Coca-Cola, Diet Coke (12 oz.)—46 mg

Tab (12 oz.)—46 mg

Dr. Pepper (12 oz.)—41 mg

Pepsi (12 oz.)—38 mg

Diet Pepsi (12 oz.)—36 mg

7-Up—0 mg

Sprite—0 mg

Root beer—0 mg

Ginger ale—0 mg

If you are ready to take a step towards being pain free, or simply want to learn more about how TruDenta works at Pasadena Pain Management, contact us today to set up a FREE TruDenta consultation. The consultation lasts approximately 2 hours and consists of a range of motion tests and dental examinations. After the consultation, we will better be able to diagnose the extent of treatment needed.

We look forward to helping you transform your life with TruDenta!