According to a study, around 29.5 million Americans suffer from migraines (women being affected three times more than men). Although not common, but headaches can affect children also.
The first thing which comes to mind when we have a headache is caffeine. But does this product really help in relieving headaches? To find out the answer to this question it's important to first understand what causes a headache and what properties of caffeine could help in relieving the headache.
Headache is caused due to variations in the quantity of the chemical called serotonin in the body. This chemical affects the blood vessels by contracting them if its level is high and dilating (swelling) the blood vessels when its level is low. When the blood vessels swell, we experience an acute throbbing pain in our head (normally localized near the temples) which is known as headache.
Caffeine is a stimulant and works on the nervous system. It helps not only in making a person alert, it works as a diuretic and a vasoconstrictor (constricts blood vessels) also. This property is what makes it useful in treatment of migraines. It is popularly used in many prescriptions and over-the-counter headache medications. It is believed to increase the effectiveness of the pain-relieving medication by 40%.
Another important aspect is that it helps the body to absorb the pain relieving medicines more quickly of which it is a part. This helps in providing faster relief.
Another common consideration of using it in the medication is that if the medication has some percentage of caffeine, the patient will need lesser of the medication as the process of healing is speeded up. This helps in eliminating any side effects from the primary medication (addiction, overdose or interactions with other medications).
It doesn't necessarily be consumed through medicines; it can be consumed in form of coffee, tea, soda or chocolate also. These products contain a lot of caffeine (chocolate is highly caffeinated).