At dinner a few nights ago, I had a splitting headache and I remembered something a friend told me a while ago–she claimed that drinking a Coke would help ease a headache. I never drink soda but decided to give it a try anyways.
While my headache did lessen after drinking Coke, it didn’t disappear completely; and I have my doubts that the Coke was the reason behind it fading. Since I’m still a skeptic of this remedy, I decided to do some research to see what science says. Is it worth it to open a bottle of Coke next time you have a headache, or is there a better – not to mention, healthier – natural remedy?
It is common knowledge that caffeine is addictive. For those of us who are used to a cup of coffee in the morning, we know how heavily we come to rely on the caffeine for a boost. Caffeine withdrawal can result in a headache, but could it also work in reverse? Could caffeine also help in curing a throbbing head? According to Live Science, “Caffeine can cure headaches that are caused by caffeine withdrawal. In fact, most people experiencing a caffeine withdrawal headache will feel better within 30 to 60 minutes of consuming caffeine.” It seems obvious that if our head is pounding from the caffeine withdrawal, then the only thing to make it stop would be to give in and pour a cup of coffee. But, how about for those of us who have a headache for reasons unrelated to caffeine? Next time our heads ache, is it a good idea to skip the Advil and enjoy a Coke instead? Let’s see what the experts say.
The Science Behind Coke Helping with Your Headaches
Relieve Migraine Headaches, explains that caffeine “acts as a vasoconstrictor (constricts your blood vessels), as a diuretic, and it may even increase blood pressure.” Some medications work on alleviating headaches by constricting blood vessels. The source states that “blood vessels increasing in size is one of the common occurrences when you’re having a migraine. Many migraine sufferers find that a coffee or coke early on in their headache will keep it at bay.” It’s interesting to note that the article states caffeine will help to keep a migraine at “bay,” but it doesn’t state that it will cure your typical headache. The caffeine may help to keep a headache from turning into a migraine if you are prone to getting them; however, it doesn’t seem that it will completely get rid of a headache. Relieve Migraine Headaches concludes that when it comes to headaches, caffeine is tricky because “although it may help to constrict your blood vessels, the headache caffeine connection may be in the way it can backfire and also start expanding them!”
Verdict: Fiction. In most cases, a can of Coke won’t do much for a headache. If you aren’t prone to migraines, and don’t experience headaches often, then it is likely your headache is caused from a lack of food or dehydration. The best way to cure yourself would be to drink a full glass of water and have a hearty meal. If you do experience headaches often, speak with your doctor to find a remedy that works for you. Keep track of the time of day you are experiencing headaches and the activities you are doing right before a headache comes on to help figure out what the cause behind your headaches could be.