I’m addicted to Caffeine. Maybe.

September 18, 2007 at 8:38 pm (Health Issues)

So I’ve been having these headaches. Not real bad headaches, but plenty enough to upset me and/or annoy me, by turns. Kind of this nagging headache that would ebb and flow, and, paired with my apathy lately, it’s been a real bummer. Been going on for about two weeks, thereabouts.

Now, I don’t get headaches. Hardly ever. I’ve never had a migraine, I’ve never had a problem with headaches at all, ever in my life. I do get them on rare occasions, and it is on these occasions that I tend to feel very sorry for myself, even though the pain is probably very mild, to a seasoned headache sufferer, anyway.

But lately, these headaches. And they’ve seemed to be motion headaches. As opposed to brightness headaches, or your standard doesn’t-matter-what-I-do aches. Getting up, sitting down, walking around, is when I’d notice them the most.

I just couldn’t put my finger on why. Why would I be getting these? I’ve been drinking water like it’s going outta style. I’ve been eating fine. Not taking any strange supplements. No new additions to my diet or personal care product regime. Everything was pretty much the same as it’s always been. I’d been working out slightly less than ‘usual’, sleeping slightly less well than ‘usual’. Nothing drastic. I didn’t want to believe it could be my medication, because that’s been constant for quite some time, I don’t want it to be doing odd things to me all sudden-like.

I got to talking about all this today with a friend, and he said it sounded like a caffeine withdrawal to him. I balked at this, -I don’t drink caffeine! Not hardly any, anyhow.

But then I thought about it a bit harder. I do drink the occasional Mt. Dew. And sometimes I still take the powdered natural energy drink when I need a pick-me-up on a sleepy afternoon, since I don’t drink coffee. Wait. “Still” take it… I used to take more. I used to take a half dose of it every morning before my workout. First thing, 4:50 AM, before any food or anything. nearly every day. I stopped that about……. two-ish weeks ago. When I got a new energy drink to try. The new stuff doesn’t contain any caffeine. The old stuff contains “just a little”.

We got to talking about that, and I got to wondering exactly how much caffeine is in my old drink. I was told when first introduced to the product that it didn’t contain a lot. I saw the amount, but I didn’t have anything to compare it to, so I figured it wasn’t alot, and never thought about it again. So I went back to check.

Turns out, this stuff has, in a full dose, as much caffeine as a Red Bull, or a stiff cuppa joe. 80mg. True, I’d only take a half-dose, but that’s 40-ish mg of it every morning, and then some afternoons. Here’s what the website says about it: [Green tea leaf extract (90 mg epigallocatechin gallate and 80 mg naturally-occurring caffeine)] I visited wikipedia’s entry on caffeine, to find out what coffee had in it, and coffee runs from 40 to 100mg of caffeine, and Red Bull has 80mg.

Said friend’s wife is sensitive to caffeine, and goes through terrible withdrawals based on small dosages. He himself can drink cups and cups of coffee a day and then go cold turkey with seemingly no effect. So people have quite a range of responses to this stuff.

After realizing this, (That the energy drink I used to take did indeed have measurable amounts of caffeine in it) I went and grabbed a handy can of Mt. Dew: Gamer Fuel, which has extra caffeine in it. A few slurps later, and my headache vanished. I mean, gone. Since it had been a motion headache, I did a test. I put my head between my knees for a good 30 seconds, then stood up suddenly and walked into the next room, bouncing with every step. No pain. O_o

So, the plan currently is: I’m going to use caffeine like a medicine for several days, taking it when I get a headache, if it comes back. If it continues to chase the pain away, then I’m going to go off caffeine cold turkey, and take aspirin or advil for the pain, and just push through the tough time, which should be 5 days-ish. No soda, no energy drinks, no tea, no chocolate. Nothin’. If, after that time, I still have pain, then perhaps I have a different problem.

So that’s the theory! I’ll keep my lovely readers updated. =)

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5 Comments

  1. Ashlen said,

    don’t forget- some pain relievers have caffeine in them. I belieeeve it constricts blood vessels in much the same way as nicotine, so it’s useful in pain relief that it relieves a little pressure. It’s either Aleve or Excedrine.. so don’t go taking those and completely screwing up your little experiment.

  2. Sy said,

    Ahh, yus. Excedrin is right out. All unknown-content pain relievers will be checked for caffeine content!!

  3. Ego said,

    That’s VERY interesting. Hmm, I’m glad you found what it was though!

    Also, my doctor told me that caffeine was in pain meds because it forces the body to absorb the meds faster.

    That may be bullhonkey, but I thought I’d share.

  4. Spring Joy said,

    good deductions! My doctor said that caffeine is bad for your heart. i have gotten some caffeine headaches before but not allot. I have one can a day and that is ok but he would rather I do none.

  5. Izi said,

    Dunno about caffeine helping your body absorb medication faster, but often with pain there is increased swelling and inflammation, and since it is a mild diuretic and vasodilator, it can help relieve pain slightly this way. That’s the main reason midol has it; to work on the bloating and stuff, and to help get rid of some of the fluid. Some caffeine before a work out can actually be helpful rather than not, studies have shown.

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