My Migraine Story

TL;DR — I stopped consuming caffeine and it totally cured my migraines

Moti Karmona
Jul 18, 2015 · 6 min read
Coffee — Brain

I started having Migraines approx. 8 years ago; (~2007). The usual suspect to blame was stress, work-life-balance and lack-of-sleep-and-exercise (a.k.a. I have joined a cool startup as VP R&D)

p.s. This is more or less also where I started drinking coffee (hint hint)

#Quantified Self | I have decided to start hacking, tracking and quantifying my migraines when I reached a weekly migraine cadence during 2012.

quantified_self_migraine
quantified_self_migraine
Tracking my Migraines

I tried EVERYTHING and monitored it rigorously including exercise (Running, Swimming, Walking), Meditation, Temperature Therapy, Special Diet (+ reduced ~20kg :), Supplements (like vitamin B2, magnesium, and coenzyme Q10), Relaxation Techniques (e.g. Yoga, Tai-Chi, Chi- Kong), Special Herbs, Acupuncture, Triggers Diet (like Monosodium Glutamate, Gluten, Alcohol, Chocolate and Cheese), Different Sleep Patterns, etc.

I had some placebo reduction in cadence and symptoms but nothing really stopped the migraines.

~3 month ago I have decided to pull-the-plug on caffeine which was the last experiment in my plan (as caffeine misleadingly known only as Migraine cure)… and my Migraines disappeared (!!!)

Caffeine_Migraine

(I have found this frightening correlation with )

Brain, Caffeine and Migraine | The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Well… it worked for me but it seems like it isn’t only me.

Research shows that you need to be drinking about 200 milligrams of caffeine (~2 cups of coffee) to get a withdrawal headache when you miss your “dose”

I have found many references to the corrleation between migraine and coffee:

caffeine
caffeine

Going cold-turkey with Caffeine

Well… it was VERY hard to quit Caffeine and there are many ways to do it (just google it). As always, I have chosen the most radical one…!

dilbert_decaf

Few interesting facts about Caffeine

  • 68 million Americans drink three cups of coffee every single day = 300mg of caffeine
  • ~30 million Americans drink five or more cups of coffee every single day
  • ~21 million Americans drink six or more cups of coffee every day
  • Consuming as little as 200mg of caffeine every day can lead to addiction and altered chemistry in the brain.
  • Another 100mg (=300mg) per day can lead to increased anxiety, panic disorders, muscle twitching, irregular heartbeat, flushed skin, depression, and even slurred speech
  • Research shows that you need to be drinking about 200 milligrams of caffeine (about two to three cups of coffee) to get a withdrawal headache when you miss your “dose.”
  • Too much caffeine can produce mood swings, insomnia, increased tension in the muscles, and also impair your digestion and nutrition absorption.
  • Caffeine is thought to reduce or restrict blood circulation to the brain; it also raises blood pressure and accelerates the heart rate to unnatural levels.
  • A controversial study released in 1998 by the National Institute for Environmental and Health Sciences claimed that women who consumed at least one cup of coffee per day were half as likely to become pregnant than women who did not drink coffee. The study also concluded that women who drank coffee while pregnant were 17% more likely to have their newborn die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS. A study in New Zealand discredited the connection between low doses of caffeine and SIDS, but it did conclude that consuming 400mg of caffeine every day while pregnant may increase this risk due to the baby’s sudden withdrawal of caffeine after being born, leading to respiratory distress.
  • It’s believed that some 3 out of 4 regular caffeine users are actually addicted to the substance.
  • After addiction, withdrawal from the use of caffeine can cause mood swings and irritability, similar to the symptoms of withdrawing from a narcotic or alcohol.
  • Five grams of caffeine can be fatal. This is the equivalent of some 30–40 cups of regular coffee.
  • Some 50% of people who quit using caffeine experience severe headaches which typically last between 2 and 9 days. Half of people who quit also stated that they had difficulty avoiding the use of caffeine permanently.
    In low doses, caffeine has been shown to improve one’s cognitive functions, increasing alertness.
  • Overdoses of caffeine can cause manic episodes, panic attacks, hallucinations, delusions, disorientation, and the lowering of one’s inhibitions.
    The effects of caffeine on a person’s system can usually be felt within minutes of consuming it. Its peak effectiveness typically takes around 30 minutes, and the substance requires three to six hours to leave the body. This is one reason it’s often recommended that a person stop drinking caffeinated beverages in the afternoon, so the body has time to flush it out of the system before trying to fall asleep at night.

Caffeine Content in different beverages

  • Brewed Coffee — 80 to 135mg
  • Instant Coffee — 40 to 60mg
  • Espresso — 100mg
  • Decaffeinated Coffee — 3 to 5mg
  • Cola — 34mg (What???)
  • Black Tea — 30 to 40mg (Did you know that?)
  • Green Tea — 20mg
  • Cocoa — 14mg
  • Decaffeinated Black Tea — 3 to 5mg

More details here:

Interesting and related links

I hope this post will help others cure their Migraine — Please remember to post back if it did :)

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