Caffeine is known to have vasoconstrictive properties, which means that it narrows the blood vessels and restricts the blood flow. This is useful in relieving headache pain, since blood vessels tend to enlarge before the beginning of some headache pain, including pain associated with migraine.

Caffeine is also known as an “analgesic adjuvant,” which means that it is an ingredient added to pain relievers to make them work more effectively. Medical research has conclusively demonstrated that caffeine, when combined with aspirin or acetaminophen, can significantly improve effectiveness in relieving tension-type headache and migraine. In fact, a review of several scientific studies estimated that, for patients with tension-type headache, caffeine plus aspirin or acetaminophen increases the pain relieving effect by 40%!

What does this mean for you? Some experts believe that because caffeine helps the pain relievers work better, you don’t have to take as much medication to relieve your headache pain. This means you can reduce the risks of unwanted side effects, such as stomach irritation, liver disease, or even a condition known as medication overuse headache.

Caffeine and Headache