"No caffeine" headaches are different from other headaches

When I was a senior in college, I worked as a gopher in the engineering college. My most important job was to make coffee and keep it going until my four hour shift ended.

I wasn’t much of a coffee drinker, but because I was the one making it, I figured I should at least try it. Soon I was drinking two or three cups every morning.

One Saturday morning I slept in and woke up with an awful hangover. Except…I hadn’t been drinking. And it happened again the following Saturday. And the next. And then there was finally a weekday morning when I didn’t have to go to work, and it happened then. Yup, I’m a slow learner. I’d become hooked.

I didn’t like that at all so I cut waaaay back, almost to nothing. And over the next 20 years, I basically limited myself to coffee three times a week. But a few months ago, my coffee drinking habits changed (that’s going to be another post), and I started drinking more coffee, stronger coffee, more often.

A few weeks ago, I got that familiar headache that comes from skipping coffee. So I backed off a few days, and then I was able to go back to coffee three days a week. But last week I hit the coffee more than usual, and today I’ve had an awful headache. I’m prone to headaches, and have had a migraine headache twice in my life. But this one is different. I get body symptoms that are a lot like hangovers. The headache is nasty, and the only way I can describe it is by saying it’s kind of…3-D.

One more day off…then I’ll have coffee again. But if I have a headache tomorrow…fuck it. I’ll give up, give in, and drink it every day.

I don’t drink coffee, but I have noticed that if I take a break from my daily Coke Zero I suffer a similar headache as you’re describing. I’m not certain if it’s caused by the absence of caffeine or the substitution of an unfamiliar beverage. Perhaps it’s both.

Eeew. Sucks how your body gets dependent that fast, doesn’t it?

Luckily, my caffeine-deprivation headaches are just a standard tension headache/possible lead-in to mild migraine for me. But then I have ADD and caffeine has nearly zero effect on my energy levels, etc. It helps me focus my attention a bit better I think.

One reason why I wasn’t into coffee until much later was not feeling the effects until I was about 22 or so, and really not even until my late 20s. I could drink coffee right before bed and fall asleep.

The same went for nicotine. I got a “buzz” from nicotine, but instead of waking me up, it made me tired. VERY tired. In fact, I always chewed (I didn’t smoke) right before bed because it was a serious sedative effect.

I quit nicotine when I was about 23, so I have no idea what it would do for me now.

Yup, I had roughly the same experience. I worked in food service at school and we were allowed coffee, tea, or soft drinks. I drank a cup of coffee every morning, until one weekend night I found myself with the aforementioned withdrawal headache. I don’t drink coffee at all now, if just because my stomach hates it and will…er…evacuate it very swiftly. I suppose I could try drinking it black (I usually had it with cream), but I don’t really like it that way, and I’d rather not go through the headaches again.

My boyfriend had something similar when he cut back on diet soda. The headaches got to be so unbearable that he’d find himself reaching for the soda to take the edge off. He now drinks mostly flavored soda water (the thing he’s addicted to, it seems, isn’t the caffeine, but the fizziness), with only an occasional Dr. Pepper. No more headaches.

When I was a petroleum redistribution engineer for two months, the only thing we got for free was water and coffee, so I drank lots of coffee. I don’t think I got a headache, but on my days off, my later shift and my lack of coffee meant I’d be unable to get up until 3 in the afternoon.

That, plus some recent studies about caffeine mean I’ve been ordering decaf a lot. It’s okay, except that I’m surprised how often I have to wait while 2nd Cup / Starbucks / McD’s / etc. put some on for me.

Namoda, are there any weblinks to the caffeine studies? Where did you read them? I’m currently, drinking caffeine every morning and my headaches and grogginess are dreadful :frowning: but I really like sweet strong milky tea, it’s a comfort thing.

Maybe if I read what you read it would push me into giving it up altogether. A couple of years ago I gave up sources of caeffeine ie chocolate, tea, coffee and the effects were remarkable, I felt so much better, now drinking it again my body feels like it’s constantly fighting a non exisitant cold, it hates caffeine so much.

I’ve always tried to avoid caffeine, because although I never get the “up” from it - I never notice myself being more awake or alter - I definitely get the crash later. It’s unpleasant. If not for Excedrin being the only thing capable of effectively tackling my near-daily headaches, I could easily do without it completely.

Do it! Do it! One of us. One of us.

I gave up diet soda for Lent this year. I thought it would be tough. I was a serious diet soda drinker - my wake up beverage was 16.9 ounces of Diet Mt. Dew, and that was just the start. Strangely enough, I was able to stop with no headaches or other issues. I did realize that the caffeine wasn’t causing my sleeplessness, though.

I find that as little as 1 12-oz can of caffeinated soda every day is enough to give me a headache when I skip it.

I have also found that if I know I’ve been regularly having caffeine, and I’m going to stop for a while, 1 day with about 2oz is enough to keep away the headache. Day 2 I’m fine with no caffeine and no headache.

Twenty-one years ago this past January, I woke up one morning, got out of bed, and realized my water had broken. (I was pregnant, two days past my due date.) I called my obstetrician, who said I should not panic but should come to the hospital, and that I should have nothing to eat or drink – not even coffee.

My oldest son was born about 17 hours later. The worst part of those 17 hours was the terrible headache that I developed.

About six months later, I was talking with a co-worker who had had her first child about the same time as I did. We had both recently returned from maternity leave, and were swapping childbirth stories. I mentioned the headache. She immediately asked if I had had to skip coffee that day, and when I replied in the affirmative, she told me it was a caffeine-withdrawal headache. I had never heard of such a thing, but right then and there I vowed that if I ever had another child, I would ask for IV caffeine during the childbirth process.

My second child was born 10 weeks prematurely, due to my having developed appendicitis, and there was no time for caffeine, IV or otherwise. But that’s another story, I had no headache (although I had other pain!), and in any case, he and I are both fine now.

My No Caffeine migraines feel like someone is poking behind my left eye with a dull nail.

I gave up soda for Lent. Living without headaches is awesome, but I still miss soda. Thank God I never took up cocaine.

I have to admit…I was kinda rooting for the headache to come back :slight_smile:

Another thing compounding all this is I’ve been restricting my calories to 2,000 a day to lose about a pound a week. I find that I must drink HUGE amounts of water or I get really dehydrated. So the headache had two strikes against it…the lack of caffeine and the dehydration.

Today I stayed hydrated. The headache was juuuust on the cusp, but never actually became full blown. Tomorrow is coffee day, though. I plan my coffee routine as carefully as I plan my exercise routine :slight_smile:

Hmm. The latest studies on Google News seem to be that it can contribute to diabetes, albeit in a roundabout way.

The ones I saw a few months back just said that rather than enhance your abilities, wake you up, etc., caffeine just raised them back to normal levels before depressing them the rest of the time. I’ve always liked coffee for the taste, warmth, and combination with cookies or muffins, rather than the caffeine, so going decaf was an easy move to make.

Hmmm, yes I had read that myself, thank you anyway :slight_smile: And I do notice those exact effects, go without caffeine for a few days, feel really tired drink some then it’s back to “alert”.

Best thing to do is give it up altogether, let your body re-adjust and get natural high energy from exercise and I’ve read eating apples can be as good as caffeine for waking you up. It really does work you just have to stick with it for a few months.

BTW if you take sugar with your decaf, you might get the no sugar headache if you decide to give that up too. sigh

Other studies say it doesn’t. Apparently its a major source of antioxidants, often the major source in N. American diets.

Caffeine, like chocolate, is part of a nutritious diet. Both are made from beans. Beans are vegetables. I get two full servings of vegetables before lunch and other in mid-afternoon. All I need is a tomato and lettuce on my sandwich and I’ve had my full five servings of vegetables for the day.

What? You don’t believe me?

Sorry, “it”, meaning coffee, not caffeine.

Ah yes, but I didn’t I read recently that free radicals turn out to be protective against cancer, and that those taking high doses of Anti-oxidents were more likely to get cancer, even whent hey filtered out those who had a high cancer risk? (i.e. many of the people in the study took high levels of anti-oxidants because they knew they were high risk for one reason or another. When those wre removed, the high AO folks still had a higher incidence fo cancer.)

Here it is:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/08/090819-antioxidants-cancer.html