Over the years the frequency of my migraines has slowly been increasing. Now I get two to three migraines per week. I have been taking triptans whenever I feel the early symptoms. I have worked my way through them, as you do if you are a sufferer, as nobody knows which one will work for you until you try it. I use Maxalt (Rizatriptan). They work by immediately making the migraine worse, then an hour later it is gone. For those lucky people who have never had a migraine, let me tell you what happens if I don't treat it. They can last from 3 hours to, wait for it, 3 long painful days.
If the migraine starts in my neck then I have found that Syndol is a slightly cheaper way to remove the symptoms. The problem with that is that I am often left with a fuzzy feeling for the rest of the day. Now whilst this can sometimes be quite a nice happy haze, it isn't ideal, especially if my boss is trying to tell me something important and I am sitting there grinning at her.
Then disaster struck. I got a really bad migraine at work and had left my triptans at home. To my horror I realised that I was out of Syndol. Nothing else has ever touched them, but in the vein hope that this time might be different from all of the rest, I took 2 panadol. Unsurprisingly, they didn't even dent the pain. So what has Syndol got in that panadol doesn't. One of the active ingredients is caffeine. I had recently read that the reason caffeine is added to drugs is to speed up the absorption process. I don't normally drink coffee. In fact I don't often have anything with caffeine in it. But I was a desperate man with a pain in the head. So out came the mug, in went the granules and in went the water, just off boiling. Old hotel management habits die hard as coffee should not be made with boiling water. Tea is made with boiling water and for coffee the water should be just off boiling.
I sipped the strong black drug (no milk for me) and as I expected... Nothing! By the time I finished the mug the migraine was still th... Um actually, hold on a minute. I feel my head in disbelief. The pain has to be in there somewhere. But shock, it has gone!
Let's not get too excited here. Sometimes they do just go after a short time and this was probably one of them. So the next time I got a migraine I thought, why not! So I had another mug of coffee.
First sip.... Nothing. The pain was still there.
Second sip... Nope, it must have been a coincidence.
Half way through... Still got the pain. Oh well.
Almost finished... Hold on a minute, the pain is going.
Finished... So had the migraine!
Extended trials have shown (that is me grabbing a cuppa each time I get a mig) that a cup of coffee will stop about 3 out of 4 migraines in their tracks. I have tested it a number of times since. Every time I feel the migraine, even the very early signs of one, I pop on the kettle and brew up. By the time I have finished the mug the pain has gone. The amazing thing is that there are no side affects other than feeling really good!!!
I have looked into this in a bit more detail and apparently this is not unknown for coffee to help migraine sufferers. Why am I always the last to find out about these things? Apparently the caffeine makes the blood vessels dilate (or something like that) which is similar to what a triptan does. You have to be careful not to drink too much coffee of else you will start to depend on it and it might ever cause you to get more migs. But one cup every two days is fine (and yes I have checked this with my doctor).
So there you have it. A migraine cure in a mug. Cheap and available almost everywhere. Let me know if you suffer and how you cure your headaches.
Update... Sadly the frequency of which a mug of coffee works has dropped a bit over the last few months (I originally drafted this blog a while back). I now find that a cup of coffee will cure perhapse 1 in 3 migraines and even then, only when taken with another drug. But you know what? I don't care. Anything that stops the pain is good. The more options and cures that work the better!