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Six Tips to Get Rid of a Caffeine Headache Without Withdrawal Symptoms

I'm a San Francisco-based freelance writer and blogger with nearly 10 years of writing experience behind me.

Do You Drink Caffeine?

We consume caffeine on a daily basis but that doesn't diminish the fact that it's a serious drug. People who regularly have caffeine in their diets realize this when they fail to get their daily dose of caffeine and begin to suffer from drug withdrawal symptoms. The most common of these is the "caffeine headache" or "caffeine withdrawal headache". Unfortunately, the most commonly recommended treatment for caffeine headache is to consume some caffeine. For people who are trying to cut back on caffeine, this isn't a solution. In fact, it's just a way of perpetuating the problem.

Six Tricks to Get Rid of That Headache

  1. Take a nap. Sometimes it is possible to just sleep through the withdrawal headache. If you're in a position to take a nap during your day, this could be a way to resolve the problem. This is especially true if you are trying to cut caffeine out of your diet since chances are that you're going to be tired anyway.
  2. Medicine. People who aren't opposed to taking headache medicine will generally find that the typical pain relievers are capable of eliminating the caffeine headache. Tylenol, aspirin, or Ibuprofen may be used to get rid of the headache. People who are trying to ease off of caffeine and not just quit it cold turkey may find that Excedrin, a pain reliever that contains a minimal amount of caffeine, may help best. Of course, if this is an ongoing problem, you'll want to discuss the use of this medicine with your doctor.
  3. Peppermint. One of the most common natural headache cures is peppermint (usually in the form of peppermint tea). People who suffer from caffeine headaches have reported that they usually go away shortly after using peppermint as a natural remedy.
  4. Drink lots of water. One of the best natural things that you can do for your body is to drink water. You might be surprised by how much you can cure when you get more than your necessary eight glasses of water per day. Try adding more water to your diet and see if the headaches don't disappear.
  5. Get a massage. You might find that you just need to get your body into a state of relaxation in order to cause the headache to disappear. Schedule a massage appointment at a local day spa. You might consider discussing what aromatherapy options they have available for headaches.
  6. The pinch trick. People have reported that you can use an acupressure trick in which you pinch the area between your thumb and forefinger. You're supposed to pinch tightly until it hurts. Others say that this trick doesn't work but when you're desperate to get rid of that headache, it might be worth a try.

Ultimately, the caffeine withdrawal headache will go away on its own. These are just some of the ways that you can convince it to move along faster so that you can move on with your day!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Dani78 on October 26, 2017:

Reply to comment below:

That is the area actually, you take one hand and pinch the fleshy area between your thumb and forefinger (spread out your fingers to make an "L" shape and it's that area in between. Of course the pinching also uses your other thumb and forefinger, so I can see why there was confusion.

Megan on July 02, 2015:

"The pinch trick. People have reported that you can use an acupressure trick in which you pinch the area between your thumb and forefinger."

Specifying WHAT area would have been helpful.

Stacia J. on December 11, 2014:

Wow This is so helpful. I drink anywhere from a cup of coffee and two diet sodas a day and i haven't had any in the past three days and my head is Killing me! Im at school so i cant try a few of these but definetly the water and tea ones should help. Luckily i always have peppermin tea in my locker ;)

KB on October 23, 2013:

I haven't had a cup for four days now. I quit because I had two panic attacks in one month in the middle of the night, I couldn't sleep, couldn't eat, my heart was racing, and I had no desire to spend quality time with my family. I'm proud of myself for quitting. - The first four days have been like this: tight headache but no migraine, shoulders in throbbing pain and back in pain, too. Now, the pain has moved to my hips and legs, similar to having the flu. I'm just happy to be free of the addiction and i know I'm going to feel better soon.

Susan on April 26, 2013:

Sammy, I've heard that the most common reason for headache is not drinking enough water. I know this is off the caffeine subject, but thought it might help.

Sammy on April 28, 2012:

Hello my name is Sam I'm 15 years old to be 16 and iv had this headache for 5-6 days now It won't go away It fades away but very little when I'm laying down like on a bed or something But when I take a pill like let's say 1000mg worth of Tyanole (hope I spelled it right) it Fads away to were I can barely feel it BUT I CAN STILL FEEL IT IT'S THERE but its easier to walk around and do stuff With medicine. Plus when I'm not laying down or without my meds I start throwing up. Which suck because I have a big test Monday And I don't think I can take pills to a school without the nurse grabbing her hands on them plz tell me what kind of headache this is My doctors are useless Cat scan didn't show anything. Plz I'm in desperate help. Ty

Bouncy on April 23, 2012:

Day 23 for me with no coffee but only 7 days with no tea. Day 2-4 were the worst for me with feverish headaches so intense I could hardly move. Even now after so long I miss it like crazy and have a small 'tension' feeling in my head most days. I'm hanging in there though and hoping at two months I'm free. After 20 years on the bean, developing anxiety and hormonal disorders, I'm determined to take my life back. Would love to hear from more people that successfully kicked the habit on how long it was before they felt REALLY better and started getting energy back. So lethargic still. Thanks and good luck all you fellow addicts trying to give up ;)

Josh on April 23, 2012:

I'm not a regular user of caffeine but a couple of nights ago I drunk several bottles of an energy drink with a high caffeine content to stay up all night and complete some coursework. The morning after I felt fine but fell asleep in the afternoon. Woke up the next day with a splitting headache that has not yet gone. It's only on day 2 but the headache is really wearing me down, I cannot concentrate on my coursework and feel slightly sick in the stomach. Is it possible that these are withdrawal symptoms after just 1-2 nights of heavy usage?

Liz on March 26, 2012:

I recently gave up drinking coffee(drank about two cups daily)because I couldn't take the way it made me feel later in the day(massive headaches, jitterness) ive repalced coffee with food and so far my "withdraw headaches aren't as intense

whodathunkd from San Ramon, California on March 16, 2012:

Been addicted to coffee for many many years now. At one point I went from seven cups a day to zero - one of the dumbest things I've ever done. Cold sweats, insane headache, nausea, irratibility.

One thing that seems to work well - drink 1 cup water for every cup coffee. Fill them both up at the same time. Keeps the headaches at bay, for a while at least

Today I'm trying the peppermint tea, which seems to be helping. Thanks for the advice!

stacey scott on January 30, 2012:

I love my coffee so so sooooooo much!!! i'm trying a detox to help me with a few things and the headache i have is just not funny:-( this is day one of the detox and i have a month to go. go away headache!!!!

kevshrop on January 10, 2012:

An ice pack sometimes helps.

KW on October 07, 2011:

Dispirin seems to reduce the headaches - on day 7 without coffee

LLM on August 12, 2011:

I recenly had to give up caffeine due to heart palpitations and chest pain. Now I suffer from serious headaches nightly. I have been left with no choice, I prefer the headaches to the chest pain but the withdrawl is awful. I have tried everything but at the end of the day - some over the counter meds and a good nights sleep seem to help. It is a long hard road. I am now on day 5. I miss my coffee :(

Alex Simring from Australia on August 01, 2011:

I need to follow the tips here, as I currently can't start the day without a big caffeine boost. I always automatically reach for a coffee when I start to get the headaches in the morning.

fashion on July 27, 2011:

Great and interesting hub.

Jo on July 16, 2011:

You have no idea how uncomfortable it feels after drinking too much coffee/tea.

This helps though,I'm gonna try these tricks right away.

brandon on July 14, 2011:

was wondering if anyone knew if caffeine withdraws can make you sweat and feel sick to your stomach ? I was drinking 4 monster energy drinks a day and i cut down to 1 and getting really bad head aches. I also found that my legal natural medicine i smoke takes it away after 2nd puffs. My doc here in Cali said its cause it relaxes me. I also have sever depression that hits me hard sometimes but i am on meds for that. How can u tell if you have diabetes from caffeine ?

Gripeaboutit on April 16, 2011:

I drink lots of coffee i get up 2am every day and if i miss that first cup i have a major headache so i make freakin sure i stop in the morning and i'm fine

Paradise7 from Upstate New York on April 05, 2011:

I'm a coffee addict. I sort of can't imagine getting up in the morning without my coffee in bed, first. However, I switched to decaf recently and surprisingly never felt any withdrawal symptoms. I'm a little surprised you didn't mention drinking decaffeinated coffee as a substitute in your article.

fucsia on March 05, 2011:

Great Hub!! Recently I decide to getting rid of my usually 3 or 4 daily coffees. For a day and a night I have had headache ( that I never had before in my life! ). Now after a week without coffee I feel very good, and in the morning I do not feel sleepy as I was afraid to be.

missymoo from Kent, UK on February 24, 2011:

Great hub, Kathryn. I sometimes get caffeine headaches and although I'm not trying to actively give up caffeine it's good to have some tips on how to get rid of them without drinking more tea all the time!

Courtney on February 19, 2011:

I have been drinking coffee daily for 8 years. At the beginning of Feb. I decided to cut it out, and am now on day 19 of no coffee and am still getting terrible headaches. These headaches have kept me up at night and have made me tired and irritable during the day... it is no fun at all. I've been taking Excedrin everyday which helps, and am trying to only take it when i'm absolutely desperate. But one night when my headache woke me up, I was trying everything to get rid of it; water, pressure points... and the thing that ended up working was putting my heating pad on my head. I'd press it up against my temples and the back of my neck and it helped immensely.

st lucia for sale from St Lucia on February 12, 2011:

I've recently got in to the habit of having a morning Cappuccino without fail. This is usually followed by 2 or 3 teas for the rest of the work day.

Hopefully my intake isn't too high; I don't drink caffeine when I'm not working, so this should reduce thed dependancy!

Brian on February 04, 2011:

A doctor a long time ago gave me the trick on how to kick your caffeine addiction. Simply buy a small bottle of Excedrin then on day #1 stop your intake of caffeine and take one Excedrin. The next day use a knife/razor to slice off 1/8 of an Excedrin and take the remaining 7/8 of the pill. Repeat each day by slicing off an extra 1/8 of the Excedrin (i.e. day 3=6/8, day 4 =5/8, day 5=4/8, etc) and once you get down to where you take 1/8 of an Excedrin pill you are done and you will be caffeine free without headaches.

It worked for me.

Eczema in Babies on February 01, 2011:

Ive tried to quit caffeine several times after realising i literally had a dependancy. It wasn't nice and certainly didn't go smoothly but now i can take it or leave it. This is a great hub and is very useful! thanks! Voted up.

Dustin on January 29, 2011:

It's kind of ironic that Excedrin works very well for me in ridding headaches. A medication which uses caffeine to help.

Granted I'm not trying to cure a "caffeine headache"

Just found that interesting.

Jo on January 25, 2011:

I have been in hospital with back pain and the dr had put me on a detox programme which means I have to cut out caffeine all together. This is my 3rd without caffeine and I am in such a bad way. My head feels as though it is about to explode. I have slept for hours on end as I can't keep my eyes open. I am determined to do this but believe me I was drinking at least 10 cups a day and I never thought it would feel this bad. It just shows me that if it affects my body in this way now withdrawing what damage has caffeine done long term. I will be checking every label now in the supermarket as I do not want my children to go through what I am right now. Good luck everybody. I am sorry I have no tips but my consultant said water water and water .

Floyd on November 27, 2010:

I have suffered serverve headaches on a daily or a least a weekly basis since i was as young as 10 years old. The caffinated drink i drunk then was black tea with a small amount of milk. I never drank coffee until i was 30. Now I'm 40 and i drink alot of coffee to keep this caffine headache at bay. Who would have ever thought that the small amount of caffine in black tea could cause so much pain.

PurpleOne from Canada on November 17, 2010:

I love my coffee and can't do without it. As you said in the beginning, one of the best ways to get rid of a caffeine headache is to simply have a bit of caffeine - for me, that's a cup of coffee. On occasion, I've tried to quit drinking coffee because I know I'm an addict and don't like the idea of being addicted to anything. However, I've found that it's just not worth it for me to try to quit. As long as I drink coffee in moderation, I don't get headaches, I'm happy and all is good!

Steven Sanchez on November 16, 2010:

This has provided a ton of useful information! I suffer from headaches constantly. I think a lot of people don't realize that caffeine is a drug and can cause those negative affects, like headaches. A website that I have come across that I have ordered several things from that has helped me immeasurably is It has been so great to be able to order things that have helped me so much.

henrykasan from UK on September 22, 2010:

Excellent Hub!!!!!!

The hub provide very useful information which is very necessary for obtaining a sound health. The measure as mentioned in hub like s Take a nap, Medicine, Peppermint,Drink lots of water,Get a massage are very valuable and terrifically effective. Thanks a lot for providing such a useful peace of text.

ankigarg87 on September 15, 2010:

This is superb hub.I enjoyed a lot while reading

SMB on September 08, 2010:

Thanks for the tips! On another note.....people should really use their spell check before posting emails.

Jade on August 20, 2010:

Headaches are happened with so many reasons. It is important to know what is really causing your headaches. I drink some coffee or tea when I have a headache because it usually eases my condition.

Jason on August 17, 2010:

I'm going through caffeine withdrawal at the moment and find that drinking water makes my headaches more severe.

"Quill" on June 23, 2010:

Great Hub and one I need to attempt to deal with...


Tina on June 21, 2010:

I was having headachs all the time and taking BC's or goody powder to make them go away. I also love to drink Tea. I read up on caffeine headachs and decided to go cold turky on caffeine....within about 3 weeks my daily headachs stopped....I now have caffine once a week and no longer take BC's or any headach medicine that has caffeine. I took things like Tylenol and Advil (if neede) to get thru the withdrawl...neither of those medicines have caffeine. GOOD LUCK FOLKS!

Tony from At the Gemba on May 21, 2010:

Just a warning on caffeine, a work colleague of mine collapsed several years ago during a meeting, the cause was caffeine poisoning caused by drinking excessive amounts of strong coffee, he almost died!!!!

Jill on April 28, 2010:

Guys, it's fine to try the odd remedy to dampen pain, but don't ever confuse correlation with causation! There's plenty of causal evidence that caffeine withdrawal triggers headaches, but just because your pounder seems to die down around the time you pinch your hand doesn't mean that's a legitimate cure (this one in particular seems to "work" only because our brains can perceive one sensation of pain at a time). There's lots of complex stuff happening in our bodies and we have to be careful not to connect dots where none exist. Otherwise we give platforms to frauds and snake oil salesmen.

David Lim from Singapore on March 12, 2010:

For me, taking a cold shower sometimes helps.

mary on February 27, 2010:

I slept in and had my coffee later than usual - two tylenols (and I rarely take any) didn't help, but I found some good peppermint candies and they helped IMMEDIATELY! Thanks! On with my day!

zendora on February 08, 2010:

I googled "caffeine headache" and chose this article. Desperate, I tried pinching that area; and boy does it smart if you press hard enough.

My intense, pounding headache IMMEDIATELY went from an 8.5 to a 2. Stunned, I released, and it gradually turned up to a dull roaring 5. Interesting.

This inspires me to look into acupressure pronto.

crista on December 08, 2009:

that pinch thing it works now my headache is gon

imuniquelyspecial on October 28, 2009:

I just tried the pinch trick and it totally worked! I've had a headache for about 3 hours now and it worked!

anderbee on October 22, 2009:

I've found that drinking a lot of water helps me most.

tonyhubb on October 18, 2009:

I dont smoke, dont drink coffe. But i have headache some times :((

Scot Parker on May 23, 2009:

I feel somewhat forced to drink coffee due to it helping me with 'regularity', and mental alertness. It's important to keep your daily consumption fairly constant. For example, one woman at work told me that she got a headache every weekend. Sure enough, she drank coffee during the week, but not on the weekend. Sometimes I wish to dry out from my caffeine consumption. I cut back 4oz, every two days and suffer no headaches.

Wow! my spell checker says, "No spelling errors were identified!" ~Must be the coffee.

Motaz from Egypt on May 08, 2009:

Very informative..a very good hub in my onpinion. Caffiene produces a "psychological dependance" that will produce withdrawal symptoms that can be easily cured with the tips you mentioned

great work

the eye on January 03, 2009:

I quit of coffee when i quit of to smoke one year and a half ago. The headache were gone long time ego. And now i don't enjoy the time i smoke a cigarrette or taken a coffee,  on the contrary i enjoy of the whole time.


andypiper from Ann Arbor Michigan on October 20, 2008:

I try to have a regular supply of coffee so I don't get caffine headaches! But sometimes I do suffer them. Drinking lots of water helps.

Kristin on October 17, 2008:

I have a kidney infection and I cannot have caffine for the next 2 weeks.. my head is thumping and nothing is working!! I only drink 1 cup a day so I didn't know it would effect me this much =(

Kate Swanson from Sydney on May 13, 2008:

On the few occasions I've had a caffeine headache, the only thing I can contemplate doing is lying down - but I can't sleep. I also find that painkillers have almost no effect (that's how I work out it's a caffeine one and not some other kind of headache!). I must remember your tips about massage and peppermint and try them.

I only have one or two cups a day and I can still get a caffeine headache. However, I don't worry too much - there is SO much evidence these days about the benefits of coffee in preventing Parkinsons and gallstones, improving asthma etc etc, that I think a small amount each day is probably a good thing.

Asithi on February 29, 2008:

I wrote an entry to my blog about caffeine related headaches too. When I had a two month break from work while I was in the process of switching jobs, I was able to quit for good. But it was a miserable two months, waking up with a headache and lethargic all day. No matter how much sleep I was getting, I was still tired and cranky. Then one day (the 56th day to be exact), the symptoms disappeared. I am my former energetic self again in the morning. People talk about drugs, drinking, and smoking with their kids. But caffeine is also an addiction, though acceptable, that should not be encouraged by the numerous coffee shops everywhere. It really saddens me to hear about my co-worker’s teenage daughter loading up on coffee and energy drinks throughout the day to get through all her activities. Sometimes I just think we are better off slowing down and getting more sleep.

bTirFly-cuZ ifLi on February 29, 2008:

some people also just assume that it is a headache caused by caffeine, that may not be the case though. everybody and their bodies are different however we all share the same need in order to survive food,shelter and WATER. That does not just apply to people, it applies to next to every living thing on earth such as animals and plants.

our needs vary from person to person. next time you get a headache: Breath deep slowly (increase oxygen levels) Drink water as close to body temp as possible our bodies will not absorb the water until it reaches body temp 37deg. this always works for me as a last resort take the blood flow away from your head, immerse your feet in tolerably hothot water this releives tension in your head real quick

mini-mela on February 29, 2008:

Thanks! This really helps...