Trust me I’m a doctor: caffeine and migraine

I’ve been wanting to share this for a few months. Now that I have started some posts exploring migraine it’s time to share.

Episode 3 of the tv series Trust me I’m a doctor is amazing. It covers migraine and I have my special theory that it’s about the brain being overloaded and so training your brain should help.

Later they consider caffeine and explained that a single dose of a painkiller tablet (paracetamol plus for example) has 4 times more caffeine than a can of coke. My wife regularly has painkillers. These could both encourage migraines but also irritate her stomach.

Also they explained how oats can encourage the good bacteria better that pro biotics can. The fibre is used by bacteria to produce substances we need and also help waste travel through our bodies. I don’t see this particular nugget as a help for migraine. Its good for other things. It’s caffeine that is linked to migraine. I essentially think that caffeine is like activating turbo in your brain. It makes your brain run instead of walk so it gets tired sooner. Probably seems crazy to you but it fits perfectly what I experience when I have caffeine and what I see in others.

Most people who are fueled by caffeine get far more tired than those around them because they are using up their resources faster.

Think I’m wrong let me know. I like the debate. I either win or I learn ūüôā

How to live with migraine?

I have a mission this year to help my wife learn to live with¬†her¬†migraines. My wife suffers badly from then, she is suffering as I write this post and it is quite a bain of our lives. Like anyone else I’ve searched for cures, she has too and she’s tried all sorts of remedies. Some things seem to help the symptoms but nothing actually prevents them. It seems like there is no fix.

Thankfully though I’m not so sure. I’ve been watching my wife suffer with migraines for over a decade and so I have researched quite widely. Through her experiences and others and all this research I finally think I’ve got a useful answer. I can not guarantee it can cure migraines for ever¬†but at the very least it can make it much easier to live with migraines. It’s all based on my sports science knowledge and experience and I’m considering a headache as an injury to the brain and a migraine as quite a severe injury. As a result, the treatment is based on viewing migraine as an injury

My plan is to create a series of posts on migraine sharing some of the research I have found and the experiences I have had along with what I have found works.

The series of posts on migraines is about a journey of exploration. So if you have an opinion please share it. I’ve learnt that opening yourself up to being wrong is often the best route to being right. Whether I have the answer or someone else does doesn’t matter, I just want to start the journey somewhere so I am a post closer to a solution.


The posts so far:


Like you I have done a lot of research. I’m sharing what I can hear in case its helpful and to spark debate.

There isn’t much for now but soon I will hunt through my archives and pad this out more.

Four Stages

@MigraineAction has described the four stages of a migraine which, I feel, makes the whole challenge a little clearer

The four stages of migraine

The four stages of migraine


Katherines corner provides a list of some of the migraine triggers that seem to be associated with migraines. The image below is another example of potential triggers.
Migraine Triggers Infographic

Via ahealthblog

More detail at Anatomy of a Migraine

How to cure migraines: Do Migraines reflect an injured brain?

This post may challenge everything you know about Migraine but I have a genuine need to understand and cure it. My wife suffers badly and it makes us both unhappy. I think my sports science knowledge can help. It can’t hurt to try can it, excuse the pun. I don’t promise to have a fix but I have a very strong belief that this will work but I need to figure out how to apply the theory.

This series of post on migraines is about a journey of exploration. So if you have an opinion please share it. I’ve learnt that opening yourself up to being wrong is often the best route to being right. Whether I have the answer or someone else does doesn’t matter. I just want to start the journey somewhere so I am a post closer to a solution.

The first point is that the symptoms of Migraine make complete sense to me if I view them simply as an injury to the brain.

I’m used to my body feeling sore after returning to activity or after a really tough session. It’s normal. I also know that if I ignore the soreness and push hard again instead of resting and recovering I will get injured, feel more pain and take longer to recover. So I’m wondering ¬†if this is also what’s at the route of migraines.

I’ve been with my wife for over a decade so there has been plenty of opportunity to spot the trends. What I’ve noticed time and again is that, just like all injuries, there are common patterns that lead up to a migraine and common patterns in recovering from it. For example she rarely if ever gets a migraine when she sleeps well. Only when she has trouble sleeping do the symptoms start. Then she might also get dehydrated and possibly miss a meal. The busy lives we lead that’s particularly easy.

Each of these problems can weaken your body, then it only takes a particularly challenging day or two and you could push yourself too far. Think about it, if your brain is really tired then what happens if you push it too far. It makes most sense that it can get injured just like any part of your body. Wouldn’t it then hurt, maybe swell and maybe you would need to rest it. Going to a quiet and dark room and lying down is the best way for my wife to relieve the problems of migraine. She does this until the headache subsides.

It is this kind of pattern that has convinced me that the basic principles of recovering from and preventing injuries can help with migraine.

What also convinced me is that while I rarely get headaches I have had a migraine a couple of times so I know how they feel but I also know exactly what caused them. I have since been able to spot when they are coming and ensure I don’t get one. The pattern that led up to my migraines was the same as for my wifes. The fact that I can get migraines but don’t any more because I know how to prevent them is the biggest reason I feel I can help my wife. The real technical reasons are very in depth. I hope to share them over time.

I am also finding that the people I know who are prone to them seem to have similar patterns that lead to migraine. Of course each pattern is slightly different which is why they are so hard to cure but that’s what my training has been about.

Identifying patterns in seemingly random events. I’ve been doing that for over a decade at work and got pretty good at it. Now I want to use these skills for what I really want to do. Learn how to fix the body and mind.

Do you suffer from migraines or does someone you care about? What happens before and after they get one. What helps relieve the symptoms or bring them on? Please get involved and help me help my wife.

How Much Glucose Does Your Brain Really Need?

I understand that our brains can only obtain energy from sugar. The can’t get it from protein and fat like the rest of our body. So when I found an article considering¬†How much glucose does your brain actually need?¬†I knew I needed to make a record for future reference.

This is something I learnt through bio psychology and my PE A Level. Over time I have developed a theory that I feel can explain both why migraines occur and from this who you can do to help prevent them. The concept is relatively simple but, to understand it fully, it helps to know more about how your body and brain work then your average person. The idea is that peak performance, or the physiology of maximum intensity exercise as it was termed at university, has a lot to do with your bodies ability to manage its resources, particularly water and sugar. Essentially the most improvement in athletic achievement comes from sparing sugar and using water well. If the brain can only use sugar and being fit ensures your body is efficient with sugar making it last longer then being unfit will do the reverse leading to insulin resistance and basically letting you run out of sugar. That would tire your brain and potentially hurt it leading to pain. Just like any other part of the body.

In reality it is more complex than this but hopefully the essence makes sense. If you really do consider your brain like a muscle then training it like one will help prevent injuries. If you consider headaches as an injury and migraines as a severe injury then you could formulate a plan to reduce the pain causing dynamic that leads to them. It’s just a theory but since there is no cure for migraine and it is excruciating and debilitating I feel that anything with a hope of working is worth trying.

The detail I will add later. If you want to know more please add a comment. For now I’m just stating my intentions. There is a lot more detail and research I have found that I can add and flesh out the idea.

So I share this article now as a background providing a general understanding of the brain with the potential to understand how this could lead to a migraine.