Salt Withdrawal and Migraine Attacks: What’s the Connection?

salt, upper cervical chiropractic

Potato chips, aged cheese, cured meats, and french fries are a few examples of foods people constantly crave because of their high salt content. Some can’t last a day without munching on their go-to salty snacks. However, did you know that the same products are among the food items that upper cervical chiropractic doctors don’t recommend eating if you constantly experience migraine headaches? 

As it turns out, excessive salt consumption can cause a series of effects on the body. It can increase blood pressure, leaving you more vulnerable to chronic migraine symptoms. It can also promote water retention, another risk factor that can aggravate headaches, dizziness, vertigo, and other indications of migraine attacks. 

So, does this mean that you get rid of migraine headaches if you switch to a low sodium diet? More importantly, what might happen to the body if you suddenly decrease your salt intake?

Salt Addiction and Withdrawal are Real

The human body needs to have a certain amount of salt to operate smoothly. Sodium plays a role in regulating blood pressure, thyroid function, and muscle contraction. It also has an active role in helping your nerves transmit signals properly. That’s why you need to include no more than six grams of salt in your everyday diet. 

However, it’s no secret that people consume excessive amounts of salt each day. In the US alone, about 90 percent of Americans consume more than the recommended intake for sodium chloride. Some have developed a strong dependence or addiction to salt or sodium chloride, that when they stop consuming the usual amount, they experience withdrawal symptoms such as: 

  • Chronic headaches
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle cramps
  • Salty mouth
  • Increased urination

Sodium and Migraines: What’s the Connection

Studies found that sodium levels inside the brain rise during a migraine episode. According to the findings, the sudden spike in sodium content in the brain mainly comes from the sodium exchange between the blood and cerebrospinal fluid. Unfortunately, this leads to increased pain perception because the excess sodium hits the trigeminal nerve and causes it to fire signals at an unprecedented rate. On top of this, excessive salt consumption can lead to edema, potentially increasing pressure inside the skull and causing worse bouts of pain.

salt, upper cervical chiropractic

How to Regulate Salt Intake for Less Worse Migraine Attacks

Upper cervical chiropractic doctors often warn about the harmful side effects of high salt intake for migraineurs. Doctors also encourage patients to be more mindful of the amount of salt they include in their daily meals. 

But how exactly can you lower your salt consumption when almost every product sold in the market contains heaps of sodium chloride? According to Today’s Dietitian, you should try to eat less of the “Salty Six,” namely, sandwiches, bread, pizza, soup, poultry, and deli meat. Additionally, it would help if you considered doing the following: 

  • Reading the label and opting for products with reduced salt content
  • Swapping products that contain high amounts of sodium for those that have less
  • Choose fresh frozen over frozen food products
  • Opt for freshly cut meat because they contain lower amounts of natural sodium
  • Be mindful of the spices you buy and avoid those that have add-on salt like garlic salt 
  • Learn about products that don’t taste too salty but have high amounts of sodium chloride, such as:
    • Cottage cheese
    • Instant pudding
    • Salad dressing
    • Tortilla
    • Bagel and other kinds of bread
    • Baked beans
    • Tomato sauce
    • Biscuits

Other Proven Ways To Curb Migraine Symptoms

Besides minding your salt intake or managing your salt addiction, it’s equally important to tap into natural remedies. After all, there are many proven natural and holistic ways to curb migraine symptoms and lead a headache-free life. Are you familiar with these things? If not, we recommend scanning through our list of remedies for migraine attacks below. 


Acupuncture is a traditional approach to healing the body. Many patients turn to it as a preventive remedy for migraine attacks. It involves using acupuncture needles to activate trigger points and improve blood circulation and energy flow. Studies show that acupuncture can also release the body’s natural painkillers like endorphins


Aromatherapy can work wonders for migraineurs because it helps relax the nerves and soothe muscle tension in the temples and neck. You can choose from all kinds of aromatherapy oils, ranging from peppermint to eucalyptus. To maximize the benefits of each essential oil, we recommend following the instructions provided by the manufacturer. 

Applying stress management techniques

Stress can aggravate headaches, so it pays to learn basic stress management techniques like doing yoga, breathing, meditating, joining a support program, and seeking therapy. Also, manage your stressors like workload, financial problems, and traffic congestion. 

Upper cervical chiropractic 

Case studies have long proven that migraine attacks and cervical bone misalignments share a strong link. This is why patients visiting an upper cervical chiropractic practice for migraine relief always get desirable results after receiving adjustments.  

Neckbone adjustments provided by an upper cervical doctor are gentle and precise. That’s because each patient undergoes an in-depth assessment before the C1 and C2 bone adjustment. Using the latest technology in digital imaging and upper cervical chiropractic techniques, a doctor of chiropractic can obtain exact measurements needed to retrain your spine and restore postural balance. 

If you haven’t explored this option yet, we recommend calling an upper cervical chiropractic doctor in your city. This way, you can improve how you cope with a migraine attack.

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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.