Everyone has stiff, sore muscles now and then. From overdoing it at the gym to sleeping in an awkward position, there are many reasons you might feel some muscular aches and pains. Some medical conditions or illnesses can also cause soreness. Several studies have found a remarkable, effective, inexpensive cure that is natural and safe – magnesium.
Pain – It’s all in your Head
Well, it’s in your brain, anyway. A chemical in the brain, NMDA, is responsible for pain. When this brain chemical is overly stimulated, the body experiences pain. The way the brain processes pain in an individual determines how that person will experience it and manage it.
There are very few medications that deal directly with NMDA, balancing it and decreasing its production. However, the side effects of these drugs are usually significant and undesirable. Magnesium has been found to calm production of NMDA without causing the side effects or toxicity. What’s more, magnesium is very inexpensive. It is far cheaper than pharmaceuticals at just pennies a dose. One drawback is that the FDA has not yet put its stamp of approval on the mineral that is often called the “gateway to health.”
Clinical Studies find Magnesium is an Effective way to Relieve Pain
A study published in The Journal of Physiology in October 2010, explores the effectiveness of magnesium in decreasing nerve pain. The study, conducted on rats, found a strong link between magnesium deficiency and pain. In fact, that authors of the study suggest that pain is increased, or the sensitivity to pain is increased, due to magnesium deficiency.
As people are moving away from fresh foods, processed foods are becoming more prevalent. While processed foods offer easy, quick preparation and gratification, the trade-off has been a significant decrease in nutrition, leaving most people magnesium deficient. However, adding a magnesium supplement that provides 250 to 500 mg of the mineral will not only eliminate the deficiency, but decrease the pain as well. This usually happens surprisingly quickly – after only a few weeks you will notice a definite difference.
Other Benefits of Magnesium
Magnesium has a wide range of uses and benefits for the entire body. It has long been used to treat indigestion as well as constipation when taken by mouth. For heartburn and indigestion, magnesium hydroxide has been noted as the fastest acting. It is also given to pregnant women to treat high blood pressure (pre-eclampsia and eclampsia). When given as a shot or by IV, magnesium helps lower blood pressure during pregnancy. It is also the treatment of choice for eclampsia because it reduces the risk of seizures that accompany the condition.
Magnesium, given intravenously, is effective in treating torsades de pointes, a type of irregular heartbeat. Additionally, it is believed to help these other conditions:
- Arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat)
- Cerebral Palsy
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Cluster Headaches
- Colon and Rectal Cancer
- Cystic Fibrosis
- High Cholesterol
- Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
- Various types of pain including nerve damage associated with certain cancers, pain after surgery, pain after hysterectomy, and chest pain.
A healthy diet, regular exercise, and reducing the stress in your life will also help with your pain management. When your body is properly nourished it functions at a more optimal level, meaning not just less pain, but better management of it. Exercise causes your brain to produce endorphins which not only minimize pain, but also boost your mood.
Stress can make you more sensitive to pain, causing you to feel it more and experience it on a more intense level. It decreases your ability to tolerate pain and manage it. Even learning relaxation techniques and breathing exercises can help you better manage stress that you may not be able to eliminate completely. Adding magnesium to your diet can help improve your overall wellbeing as well as decrease your pain.
Most people respond very well to supplementing with Magnesium, but I have had some patients experience stomach gurgles and loose stool but this is rare. I personally use and recommend Natural Calm Magnesium because it is a powder and the dose can be modified much easier than a pill.
You can get magnesium from your diet, but because of over farming and the time between picking and eating the levels of Magnesium drop significantly. In addition to these factors, most of us have a sub-par digestive system and we don’t pull out the nutrients that we need from our foods. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to get Magnesium in your diet, but it is unlikely that you will be able to get enough from food alone. Here is a list of the Top 10 Magnesium Rich Foods.