How can magnesium help relieve pain?

Howard S. Smith
Pain Medicine
Magnesium is a powerful pain-relieving mineral. In fact, some researchers believe this mineral holds the key to resolving many types of chronic pain. In the body, magnesium converts vitamin D, which the body needs to take advantage of bone-strengthening calcium - into a form that it can use efficiently. By contributing to increased bone density, the mineral may help stall the onset of the debilitating osteoporosis.

Some experts find that migraine sufferers are magnesium deficient, and supplementing with 400 milligrams daily of magnesium oxide or chelated magnesium diminishes the frequency of the occurrence of migraine as well as reduce severity of migraine pain. (Nuts are a super source of magnesium. But if nuts trigger your migraine, find other sources of magnesium.) Magnesium may help to ease tension headaches (TH), muscle cramps, muscle strains, and muscle tension.

Those with magnesium deficiency may experience excessive muscle tension, which may trigger muscle spasms, restlessness, tics, and twitches. In those with fibromyalgia, magnesium appears to inhibit nerve receptors linked to the trigger point pain and regulate the release of neurohormones. In fact, in a study published in Alternative Medicine Alert, researchers found that an oral dose of 500 milligrams a day of magnesium significantly increases muscle magnesium level and influences fibromyalgia symptoms. (Side effects of magnesium supplements may include gastrointestinal symptoms and diarrhea.)

In a study published in Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, researchers found that magnesium supplementation can help to alleviate painful menstrual cramps. Other studies suggest magnesium may help with symptoms of PMS and fibrocystic breast changes. The Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) is 400 milligrams. Dietary magnesium does not present a health risk, but there are risks with taking too much of magnesium supplementation. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.