Headaches are often an excruciating side effect of routine procedures like spinal taps and anesthetic injections like epidurals that involve puncturing the middle and lower back.

Doctors as well as medical texts have long talked about coffee as being a simple antidote, believing that caffeine narrows the cerebral blood vessels helping reverse the vasodilation that occurs when a puncture causes cerebrospinal fluid to leak.

However, last year, researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Arizona reviewed several randomized studies that included caffeine as a treatment for this condition, known as postdural puncture headache. They found no evidence caffeine helped with the pain.

Other, separate study done at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles also found slim evidence supporting caffeine or another popular antidote, more fluid intake.

What was found effective was a treatment called epidural blood patching, which can be invasive but was found to relieve headaches in 85 to 98 percent of the patients.

Using smaller needles was also found to be helpful in reducing the headache incidence.

The conclusion is that caffeine is not an effective treatment for headaches caused by lumbar-puncture procedures like epidurals.