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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  • Dani

    I have had cluster migraines all my life, and only today google the connecting between salt and migraines. I have ALWAYS craved salt when I get cluster headaches. sometimes if I can’t find anything salty enough, I’d just drink salt water, not even knowing it was a “hack”. Nice to know that sometimes my body steers me right!

  • Calandra

    Where can I get the pink salt from

  • Yovanna Bieberich

    I’ve tried ice packs on neck, forehead. Doesn’t work. What does work: salt. I seem to find relief with a soup that’s got decent sodium, like pho.

  • Michael j Rauls

    The reason salt stops migraines and cluster headaches( what I suffer from) is not a mystery. Whatever the initial trigger the mechanism of migraines is vaso dialation due to excess nitric oxide( which is a dopamine antagonists by the way. Hence the depression many feel just before an attack) and salt loading reduces nitric oxide production hence the blood preasure rise through vaso constriction.
    Anything that causes increased nitric oxide production, capscacian( hot peppers), potasium, foods containing large amounts of boron are likely to do tho opposite.

  • Juanita

    I have had migraines since I was 12. I find that when I’m having an attack, eating a bag of salty chips calms my down tremendously.

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