The not-so-common cure for hangovers

09 November 2017

guy waking up with a handover Willow Chiropractic

We all do it sometimes: a couple of drinks turns into several, and you end up feeling awful the next day. You might think the only thing to do is drink plenty of water and wait it out. But did you know that chiropractic can reboot your system when you’re in the grips of a hangover?

What causes a hangover?


Hangovers – or to use the medical term, veisalgia – occur when your body’s ingestion of ethanol (the intoxication-producing ingredient of your favourite tipple) has exceeded its ability to process it.

This has several effects, including dehydration. Dehydration is due to the diuretic effect of drinking alcohol – that is, more frequent urination – and manifests as thirst and a dry mouth.

But dehydration isn’t the whole picture. If it were, drinking lots of water would solve the problem. But Professor Kypros Kypri of the University of Newcastle in Australia says that alternating alcoholic drinks with water doesn’t seem to lessen hangover symptoms.

Another common hangover symptom is nausea, stomach ache and even vomiting. This is caused by the production of stomach acids as a result of consuming alcohol.

Then there’s the ‘foggy brain’ effect, which is due to the fact that alcohol causes your immune system to undergo an inflammatory response that hampers your ability to concentrate and remember – not ideal when you’re under pressure at work or at home.

The low mood you can experience while in the grips of a hangover, or feelings of being emotionally up and down, are  the result of a sharp drop in the body’s blood sugar levels. Weakness, body aches and sleepiness complete the painful picture.

How to cope with a hangover

According to chiropractic Dr. Keith Lynch, alcohol breaks down glycogen stores in the body, leaving us depleted of energy, so eating well the next morning can reduce symptoms.

But don’t reach for the cheese burger, chips, coffee and orange juice, which will only irritate your stomach lining further. Healthy, balanced and highly nutritious meals are the way forward.

Get as much sleep as you can and support rehydration with coconut water and potassium-containing fruit such as bananas, kiwis and spinach – try a smoothie if solid food isn’t appetising.

Getting back into balance

If your headache just isn’t shifting, chiropractic treatment is effective in treating this extremely common hangover symptom [link to recent headache post]. And if you find yourself with a sore neck or back from falling asleep in an awkward position, at Willow we can get your spine back into alignment and prevent any further problems developing.

Alcohol is a poison that affects all parts of the body, such as the kidneys, circulatory system, brain, hormones, and liver – as well as the vitally important central nervous system, which governs everything else.

The holistic care of chiropractic works on all these systems, with a strong emphasis on restoring the health of the nervous system. Your chiropractor can relieve your discomfort and support your body back into balance, allowing you to return to normal life more quickly and feel like your usual self again.


Diseases and conditions: Hangovers: Causes. Mayo Clinic Staff.

Hangovers: Treatments and causes. Christian Nordqvist, reviewed by Daniel Murrell, MD. Medical News Today, 13 July 2017.

Hangover cures: drinking water will do nothing to cure a headache, say experts. Samuel Osborne. The Independent, 21 October 2015.

Recovering from sugar and alcohol hangovers. Dr. Keith Lynch.

What causes hangovers? The HAMS Harm Reduction Network.

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