About a week and a half ago, I eliminated caffeine from my world. That's right, I stopped drinking my beloved coffee.
I took such a drastic step because I have been getting migraine headaches - sometimes full-blown, grit-your-teeth-in-pain ones, and other times, just really uncomfortable ones. All of these headaches were combined with nausea and many of them also came with sensitivity to light. People with multiple sclerosis are much more prone to migraines and headaches in general, than the rest of the population, but they are usually treated the same way. I have tried migraine meds before. While they did work, they knocked me out or made me feel "off."
I also knew that these headaches were directly related to something I was eating or drinking. I would be fine until I ate something or drank anything besides water. About 75% of the time, as soon as I consumed something, I would have a major headache. I made an appointment with an allergist, who told me that my symptoms were not those of an allergy and that he couldn't help me (besides telling me not to eat things that seemed to bother me).
One night, I decided to do a little digging around and found the book by David Buchholz, Heal Your Headache: The 1-2-3 Program for Taking Charge of Your Pain. Sure enough, Dr. Buchholz, a Johns Hopkins physician, says that many migraines are caused by food triggers. He presents a diet plan to follow that eliminates all triggers for 4 months (then you can add them back in if they don't bother you). Caffeine is number one on his list of triggers and he does say that people with migraines should NEVER add caffeine back to their diet.
I decided to try his plan. The diet is restrictive, but there is much overlap with what I am doing anyway with my form of the Best Bet Diet. Cutting out the caffeine, though, is an amazing experience in how hard it has been.
The first day was okay, with just a mild headache by bedtime. Days 2 through 5, though, were excruciating. Not only was my head killing me, all of my joints hurt. I had intense lower back pain. I was tired, but couldn't sleep because I was too uncomfortable.
Then, on day 6, the pain lessened. By day 9, I was mostly pain-free - the sun came out and the birds were singing in my world. I am now on day 11 and have not had a headache for 2 days.
Yes, I know I could have done my caffeine elimination more gradually. However, I was desperate to be rid of these migraines. I did feel worse for that 6 days, but I truly feel much better than I did before this experiment. I am committed. I packed up my espresso maker (and wept a little), as well as all tea that was not strictly caffeine-free. I gave all the chocolate in the house to my husband (who has also quit coffee).
What about you? Do you have headaches? Migraines? Have you tried cutting out coffee? Have you stopped caffeine for other reasons? Share your story and tips below in the comments section.
Read the full articles: