The migraine brain prefers balance and routine. It craves consistency. As with all other aspects of migraine management, consistency is the key to handling your intake of caffeine.
Many migraineurs find that the occasional caffeinated beverage like a can of Coke is helpful in alleviating the symptoms of a migraine attack. However, most migraineurs will notice that if they overdo their intake of caffeinated beverages, they are more likely to experience a migraine attack.
I think the key is to make deliberate choices. If you’re a coffee drinker, maybe just have a small cup of coffee every morning rather than a jumbo latte. Also, avoid skipping that daily cup so you don’t upset your migraine brain into triggering a migraine attack. If you enjoy having a soda at the movies or a ball game, go ahead and have a small one or share a big one with a friend. Just make the rest of your beverages water. This is for two main reasons. First, dehydration is a common migraine trigger. Second, caffeine has the tendency to make you dehydrated all by itself.
Also, a quick word about artificial sweeteners: If you use these in your coffee or usually drink diet soda, be aware that these can be a separate migraine trigger. You may want to avoid ingesting them when you have your routine cup of coffee or soda. And since you’re not going to be ingesting that much of your favorite beverage anyway, having those extra calories probably isn’t going to blow your diet. Read Janet’s article for more information about artificial sweeteners as a migraine trigger: Migraine Triggers: Artificial Sweetener.
How does caffeine affect your migraines? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.