As nicotine is an addictive substance usually used in cigarettes or cigars, suddenly quitting its consumption can give you a headache. Usually, your body will take 5-6 weeks to go away from the physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, but it may take some longer to recover from the pain mentally.
Therefore, it would be better if you slowly reduce tobacco smoke consumption to make your body get to adjust and prevent yourself from the risk of getting frequent headaches.
What does a nicotine withdrawal headache feel like?
The nicotine withdrawal headache feels worse, which may cause throbbing pain, and you might feel like you have a mental fog. You might also have to deal with the problem of insomnia, as this nicotine withdrawal headache will not let you sleep either.
These nicotine withdrawal headaches are of various types, including migraine, trigeminal neuralgia, and cluster headaches that you might have 6-8 times a day for a couple of weeks. But, here, in the case of a nicotine withdrawal headache, a good thing is that you don’t need to worry. This headache is a common symptom that people feel once they follow their quit plan.
Nicotine withdrawal headache location?
You may feel a nicotine withdrawal headache in your face or behind your skull because of higher blood pressure. Continued exposure to products that include nicotine may cause your blood vessels to narrow down, which will eventually reduce the level of blood flow to your brain. To regularly carry the blood to your brain, your heart needs to work hard, increasing your heart rate, and consequently, you may have a headache.
You may also trigger migraines in your forehead as it is a common nicotine withdrawal symptom. This kind of migraine usually affects one side of the head, but it can eventuate on both sides of the forehead if you go on without taking any nicotine product.
When do nicotine withdrawal headaches start?
When you consume products having nicotine as an ingredient, like cigarettes, cigars, or vaping regularly, you get used to it. Your brain starts to create nicotine receptors in large amounts.
Once you quit smoking, these nicotine receptors cease to receive nicotine which makes these nicotine receptors stop releasing dopamine – a good feeling hormone- in your body. Because of this nicotine withdrawal and, consequently, stoppage of dopamine, your body starts to get frequent nicotine withdrawal headaches.
How to stop nicotine withdrawal headaches?
Although headache after nicotine withdrawal is a common symptom and there is no need to take any stress. But it can be uncomfortable or may not let you concentrate on your work. The simplest way to stop nicotine withdrawal headache is to take nicotine.
If you are experiencing a headache after quitting tobacco, then below are some tips that may help you deal with the headache. These tips will also give you many health benefits.
- Drink plenty of water, as staying hydrated will help reduce your headache and cigarette cravings.
- Avoid the consumption of alcohol or any beverages that contain caffeine in it.
- Get plenty of rest, or you can also do some yoga or breathing exercise to calm your mind.
- You can also try cold therapy, nasal spray, nicotine gum, or acupuncture, as these things will help reduce headaches.
- You can also use some prescription medications or nicotine replacement products like spray, gum, and nicotine patch that will help you reduce your nicotine cravings.
- As nicotine withdrawal will boost your appetite, try to keep yourself some healthy snacks to maintain your sugar balance.
- Avoid situations, places, or people that trigger your nicotine or cigarette craving, or you can ask some support group to help or motivate you.
- As these nicotine withdrawal headaches will not let you sleep and can cause the problem of insomnia, try to prioritize your sleep over everything else that will help you in disease control.
How long does a nicotine headache last?
Since every individual body is dissimilar, every individual will experience nicotine withdrawal headaches of different intensities. Some smokers may experience mild headaches. On the contrary heavy smokers may experience severe nicotine withdrawal headaches.
However, the majority of headaches will disappear within a month or two. Below is the timeline of what smokers experience after their last cigarette or nicotine withdrawal.
- After 30 minutes to 4 hours, the nicotine in your body will start to lose its effectiveness, and you will desire to have another cigarette.
- After 10 hours of your last cigarette, you may feel sad and restless and desire to fulfil your nicotine cravings.
- After one day, you will start to feel frustrated and experience mood changes. Also, your appetite may increase, leading you to gain weight.
- After two days, you will experience a nicotine withdrawal headache as the nicotine in your body begins to grow faint. If it’s a cluster headache, you might experience it 6-8 times a day for a couple of weeks, but if it’s a migraine, it will disappear in a couple of hours.
- After three days to the first week, the nicotine in your body will completely disappear depending on how large amount of nicotine you used to intake or how heavy a smoker you were. So as of now, the nicotine in your body completely vanishes, and you will start to feel anxious or depressed.
- After two weeks to 1 month, you will still feel anxious, but now the brain fog and the appetite will start to cool off. Also, your irritability, sore throat, and concentration level will gradually improve.
Nicotine withdrawal symptoms?
Below mentioned are some of the common withdrawal symptoms.
- Smokers often experience the problem of insomnia after they quit smoking tobacco. This sleeplessness happens because of the increased amount of oxygen in your brain. To tackle this insomnia problem, one should try not to consume any caffeinated beverages after 6 p.m. or deep breathing before sleeping. Also, you can take supplements like melatonin to help you sleep better.
- Other common withdrawal symptoms that smokers often experience are nicotine withdrawal headaches on their faces or behind their skulls. This headache usually happens because of higher blood pressure. To prevent this headache from frequently happening, drink lots of fluids, especially water. You can also take prescription medication or nicotine replacement therapy from your healthcare provider.
- Smokers often experience difficulty in concentration after they quit nicotine consumption. To tackle this problem, one can divide their task into multiple blocks that will eventually help them focus better.
- Another symptom smokers often experience after quitting tobacco use is a change in appetite. They usually feel the urge to eat more than usual, eventually leading to weight gain. To tackle this problem, one might keep healthy snacks with themselves.
- Coughing is one of the common symptoms of quitting cigarette smoke. When you smoke a lot of cigarettes, the cells that produce mucus in your lungs increase, making mucus thicker, and consequently, your mucous membranes get affected. Coughing is our body’s course of action to dispose of tar from our lungs. Drinking a lot of water will help soothe your sore throat and attenuate and loosen the mucus.
Side effects of quitting smoking suddenly?
When you smoke cigarettes or consume nicotine-based products daily, your body gets used to it. Usually, your body will take 5-6 weeks to go away from the physical pain from nicotine withdrawal, but it may take longer to release the pain mentally.
But if you follow the cold turkey method, i.e. cutting all nicotine suddenly, you might have some side effects like headaches and nausea, tingling in feet and hands, mouth ulcers, and sore throat with lots of coughing. Some other side effects may include an increase in appetite followed by weight gain, irritability, anxiety, depression or frustration, or insomnia.
Therefore, it would be better if you slowly reduce the amount of nicotine consumption to make your body get to adjust. In this way, you will prevent yourself from the risk of getting the unpleasant side effects of quitting smoking suddenly.
Why do I feel worse after I quit smoking?
When you consume tobacco products regularly, your body gets addicted to them, and your brain develops nicotine receptors in large amounts.
Once you quit tobacco use, these nicotine receptors cease to receive nicotine which makes these nicotine receptors stop releasing dopamine – a feel-good hormone- in your body. Since these receptors cease to release dopamine, now you will start to feel frustrated, anxious, or even depressed after you quit smoking.
Can you get sick after quitting smoking?
Smokers often get sick after quitting smoking because of what is known as smokers’ flu or quitters’ flu. The good news is that Smoker’s flu is not a disease but a process a person goes through after he quits smoking.
When your body gets detoxed from the harmful chemicals, you might experience symptoms like headache, sore throat, and irritability. Some other symptoms of quitters’ flu may include insomnia, mouth ulcers, gums, fatigue, or dizziness.
FAQ relating to headaches from nicotine withdrawal
How do you get rid of a nicotine withdrawal headache?
Below are some tips you can do to get rid of a nicotine withdrawal headache.
- One of the most important things is to avoid alcohol and caffeine and drink plenty of water.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Take a painkiller prescribed by your health care provider.
- Use nicotine replacement therapy to lower your nicotine cravings.
What are the four symptoms of nicotine withdrawal?
Below are the four symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.
- Frequent headaches in your head or back of your head
- insomnia or sleeplessness
- poor concentration or anxiety
- Increase in appetite
How long is nicotine detox?
After three days to 1 week, the nicotine in your body will completely disappear depending on how large amount of nicotine you used to intake or how heavy a smoker you were.
After two weeks to 1 month, you will still feel anxious, but now the brain fog and the appetite will start to cool off. Also, your irritability, sore throat, and concentration level will gradually improve. In a nutshell, nicotine detox will take around 1-2 months.
What causes headaches during nicotine withdrawal?
Continued exposure to products that include nicotine may cause your blood vessels to narrow, which will eventually reduce the blood flow to your brain and, consequently, you may have a headache.