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Does coffee give you headaches? Test your headache knowledge with our myth-busting quiz

Let’s debunk some common headache myths.

WE’VE ALL HEARD a good myth in our time, but how many of them do you actually believe? From carrots being good for your *eyesight, to the wind changing and your silly face getting stuck – thanks mum for that trauma – myths can be off-putting at the best of times, and sometimes just downright inaccurate.

When it comes to your health, it’s so important to understand fact from fiction and we’re here to debunk some common headache myths so you can drown out the panic and manage your pain in peace. 

Answer the questions below to compare your headache knowledge with other readers.  Each time you give a rating, you’ll see how your number matches the overall reader average. We also enlisted the help of  Tomas Conefrey, owner of Conefrey’s Careplus Pharmacy on Pearse Street in Dublin, to provide us with some helpful information around the causes of headaches…

Frequent headaches

"Only women can have frequent headaches" - How much do you agree with this statement on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being not at all and 10 meaning complete agreement. 

 

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 Happy to report, the above myth is in fact false. Everyone can suffer from headaches, they do not discriminate. However when it comes to certain types of headaches, such as tension-headaches the World Health Organisation reports that these frequently occur in the teenage years affecting three women to every two men. 

Speaking on this myth, Tomas Conefry said, “As someone who has suffered from frequent headaches throughout my life, this is definitely not true. Headaches can be a frequently occuring issue for anyone.” 

What causes headaches?

"All headaches are psychological" - How much do you agree with this statement on a scale of 1 to 10? 1 meaning you don't agree at all, 10 meaning you fully agree

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It’s easy to disregard pain at times and blame it on stress or outside influence, but the fact is that most headaches have underlying physical roots and don’t originate from psychological issues. Tension headaches, for example, often come from muscular issues in the head, neck and shoulder region. Certain lifestyle factors can also play a part, but it’s not always due to what’s going on inside your noggin.

Conefry was quick to disprove this myth, stating, “Headaches could be due to a sinus issue, they could be muscle tension or something along those lines, and migraines are again different, lots of different things, but sometimes stress as well. There could be some trigger factors too, perhaps in response to a smell, or certain chemicals can cause them. Certain situations and physical environments can also lead to headaches.”

Check out more details on causes of headaches here

 

Is coffee the root cause?

"I drink way too much caffeine, that's why I get frequent headaches" - How much do you agree with this statement on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being not at all and 10 meaning you completely agree.

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The above statement is in fact a myth, but with a caveat. Caffeine and headaches do have a complicated relationship, there’s evidence to suggest that caffeine can in fact be a trigger for a headache, but also it can be a cure.

According to the Mayo Clinic, caffeine has vasoconstrictive properties, meaning that blood vessels narrow to restrict blood flow, thereby alleviating the pain. In the same breath though, when caffeine is consumed regularly and then it suddenly stops, it can trigger a withdrawal headache. You can find out more about caffeine, and the complicated relationship it has with headaches, and particularly migraines, here.

Conefry’s response to the above myth followed similar lines, “With coffee, there’s often a rebound effect, so if people, through the morning, drink a lot of coffee, and then stop after the morning, it’s the lack of caffeine afterward that can give them a headache. Not that those who suffer from this type of headache depend on caffeine, but that it can trigger a withdrawal-type effect. People who have two or three coffees earlier in the morning can sometimes suffer headaches later in the day due to this lack of caffeine,” he said. 

The more we all understand where pain comes from, the more we can manage it and not allow it to hold us back. Be sure to chat to your local pharmacist if you’re experiencing headaches and know that there are treatments out there for everyone so they can live life to the full with all the facts.

*Seen as we’re busting myths, before we go, it turns out that carrots contain beta-carotene, a substance that the body converts to vitamin A, an important nutrient for eye health. So… remember to eat your carrots! 

 Don’t let pain hold you back. Solpa-Extra Soluble Tablets uses a double action formula – paracetamol and caffeine – to help deliver effective relief for mild to moderate pain such as headache, toothache and back pain. Solpa-Extra Soluble Tablets gets to work two times faster than standard paracetamol tablets alone based on absorption data.

Solpa -Extra 500mg/65mg Soluble Tablets. For the treatment for mild to moderate pain. Always read the leaflet. To verify contact: verify@perrigo.com. For more information about relief for mild to moderate pain, visit solpa.ie.