Don't Use Salt for Migraines. Do This Instead.

Salt for migraines?

You've probably seen blog articles or Facebook posts touting salt as a miracle migraine cure. You're supposed to put some salt in a glass of water with some lemon juice and drink it. I'm very skeptical about this purported "cure." To be fair, I haven't tried it. So, I won't say that it absolutely doesn't work.

As far as I can tell, people who propose using salt to stop migraines claim that sodium deficiency leads to migraines. I don't know of any research that suggests this is true. I suppose it could possibly be a culprit in some cases.

Any type of imbalance in your body, including a sodium imbalance, could affect your brain cells and begin the migraine process. But if you look at the typical American diet, it seems very unlikely to me that many of us are suffering from a sodium deficiency. Probably just the opposite -- most of us are getting too much sodium. And too much sodium can raise your blood pressure to unhealthy levels.

I think a lot of people have shared this "salt cure" in a helpful spirit. Migraine pain can be devastating leading to a sense of desperation and willingness to try anything new. But in my research I've also seen a lot of web pages with outlandish claims.

One webpage, for example, tells us:

"This salt can help in reducing migraine’s acting, thus reducing headaches, strengthening the immunity, increasing levels of energy, balancing levels of serotonin in the bloodstream, restoring body’s electrolyte and alkaline balance and so much more."

Now, all that said, I won't deny that it is at least possible that an electrolyte deficiency or imbalance could cause or worsen a migraine. If you don't have blood pressure issues and want to try it, it probably won't hurt. It's probably best to use a high quality salt.

What I Do Instead

Your main focus should be on trying to prevent migraines with natural supplements, prescription medicines, lifestyle changes, etc. Trying to stop a migraine that has already started can be very difficult. There is a home remedy that works, at least sometimes. 

When you have a migraine put an ice pack on your neck. Also put your hands and/or feet in very warm water. Don't hurt yourself, but make the water as warm as you can comfortably stand. This probably won't abort a full-blown migraine, but it might provide some level of relief.

There is a sound explanation for why this works. When you have a migraine headache, the blood vessels in your head and neck dilate. This is one of the main causes of the excruciating pain. The ice pack on the neck can cause the blood vessels to constrict back down to normal and the warm water has the opposite effect on your hands and feet drawing blood to them and away from your neck. 

Let us know what you think! Scroll down to leave a comment.

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  • Kim

    They are not talking about table salt. Cell salts are the mineral salts your body needs. They are not all sodium…magnesium phosphorus is the cell salt for headaches…and it works because it is the salt needed for nerve and pain

  • Beth

    In addition to salt reducing nitric oxide production, it also enables the gated channels in the cell membrane to release any build up of calcium which causes the cells to swell. Ice packs on the neck are helpful, but salt aborts the headache!

  • Ethel

    Also wanted to add – standard iodized salt works as well as Himalayan / tinted salts. The cheap stuff is okay for this one. I like Himalayan salt for flavor, but use iodized salt packets on the go.

  • Ethel

    I get weird reactions to fragrances – brain fog, decreased balance, fatigue, anxiety, nausea if it’s bad enough – that I had thought was an allergy. But fragrance allergies don’t appear to be a thing. Finally it got bad enough to turn into ocular or headache migraine, and I worked out it was severe migraine prodrome (I switched jobs to manage it before working this out). I found the info on the “salt cure”, which should really be called a “salt preventative” because it works best if you maintain high salt intake over a period of weeks or longer. It can also help during prodrome. My symptoms definitely got worse when I ate a stricter, healthier diet with little to no added sodium, and have improved on that same diet with me adding an additional 1,000 or so mg of salt to my diet – mostly just salting my water throughout the day with salt packets I now carry for that purpose. I now do fine with fragrances as long as I manage to maintain my salt intake and drink lots of liquids.

  • Valerie

    When I start noticing the aura, if I drink a couple of gulps of salt water with a high concentrate of salt and the aura goes away and a migraine doesn’t follow. I am so happy to have discovered this solution.

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