October 6, 2021

How to Get Rid of a Caffeine Headache And How to Prevent It

Have you ever sipped your Starbucks and felt a pounding headache afterwards? Perhaps you are the exact opposite. One too many cups of Starbucks can leave you with a pounding headache. Coffee lovers and caffeine-sensitive people alike are faced with caffeine headaches. These experts can help you get rid of the dreaded headache.

You might be prone to experiencing this unpleasant side effect.


  • Jeffrey M. Egler, MD, a family medicine physician, serves as physician executive at Adventist Health, medical Director of the Inspire Health Center, chief scientific advisor at GEM, and physician executive at Adventist Health.
  • Vishal Patel, a NASM-certified specialist in fitness nutrition and director of product innovation at Nuun, is Vishal.

What Is A Caffeine Headache?

Patel says that headaches can be caused by changes to blood flow to the brain. Your blood flow can be affected by caffeine, as you might guess. Egler explains that caffeine is a stimulant. It triggers the fight-or flight response, which can cause your body to go into hyperdrive. Egler explains that when you are in fight-or flight mode, blood vessels contract, which pushes blood out to your body to prepare it to move. Your body begins to relax once the caffeine has worn off. According to Egler, this relaxation causes blood vessels to relax, allowing for sudden blood flow to an unprepared brain. What is the result? The result? Pain as your body tries to adjust to the lack of caffeine.

Why Do You Get Headache?

Egler says that too much caffeine can cause headaches. He says, “The dosage makes the poison.” Overdose or excessive consumption of any substance can make it toxic. Caffeine is a known example of one such substance. Translation It is possible to overdose on coffee.

Even if you don’t consume toxic amounts of caffeine, it can still cause you to urinate more. Egler suggests that this could lead to headaches.

Insufficient caffeine can cause headaches. Egler says that if you don’t take enough caffeine, you can get headaches. This is bad news for those times when you can’t find coffee. It can be very difficult for your body to get the right balance. This is why you might have headaches if your cup of tea is not brewed in the morning or your head may hurt if your soda intake is reduced.

Even if you don’t consume coffee regularly, headaches can still occur. Patel says that some people are more sensitive than others to caffeine.1 You may be one of those people.

How Do You Get Rid of One?

Unfortunately, there is no magic cure for a caffeine headache. Patel says to treat these headaches like any other headache. Take it slow and drink lots of water to rehydrate. To prevent headaches, it is a good idea to stay hydrated both before and after caffeine intake. Egler suggests that you resist the urge to use over-the-counter pain medication to relieve your discomfort. He says, “Two wrongs don’t make one right.” Exercising pain medication to relieve everyday headaches can cause problems. He recommends consulting your doctor to determine the right dose of anti-inflammatory drugs like magnesium and turmeric.

Egler states that prevention is better than cure. Egler recommends that you limit your intake of caffeine to just one or two cups, spread over several hours. Patel recommends that you cut down on caffeine if you are sensitive to it.

Egler warns that if you are experiencing withdrawal headaches, you should not drink more coffee to counter the increased tolerance. This will only make things worse. He adds that if you drink 3+ cups of coffee per day, you might want to stop and think about why. “What is the root problem you are self-medicating?” It could be fatigue, mood changes or another issue. However, getting to the root of it can help you find a solution that doesn’t cause you pain.

The Takeaway

Headaches can be caused by too much caffeine intake or withdrawal. They are caused when there is a change in blood flow to the brain. You can manage a headache by doing the same things you do for regular headaches: Hydrate, rest and allow it to go. Consider quitting caffeine altogether if you are experiencing frequent headaches from caffeine. You may be suffering from a sensitivity or perhaps your body is getting too used to the caffeine. Understanding the root cause of your headaches will help you make adjustments.