Guest post by Dr. Brent Wells
Back pain is one of the most common ailments and sources of pain in both men and women. In fact, more than 80% of the population will suffer from back pain at least once in their life and more than 10% of the population suffers from chronic back pain. Lower back pain is on the rise with more and more people developing pain on a consistent basis.
Natural treatment options and alternative medicine are also becoming increasingly popular when it comes to helping end back pain. Traditional approaches typically include opioids, surgery, and other medications that come with an abundance of unpleasant side effects.
Fortunately, magnesium is a natural and affordable option for treating many forms of pain, including back pain. While more research and studies can always be done, there is a sufficient amount of research and evidence-based results that show magnesium is an effective pain management solution.
In this article, we will explore what magnesium is, what role is plays in treating pain, and how to use magnesium to end your back pain once and for all.
What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is a type of mineral that is responsible for properly maintaining bones and the function of nerves, muscles, stomach function, and more. Magnesium is naturally found in the body, but some people have magnesium deficiency, particularly in women.
Magnesium is also found naturally in foods. Some foods that have high levels of magnesium include:
- Soy milk
- Black beans
- Brown rice
What is Magnesium’s Role in Treating Pain?
Since magnesium plays a critical role in the body and is responsible for many systems and functions, studies have looked at how magnesium plays a role in treating pain and back pain. Magnesium effectively decreases muscle pain because the mineral has the ability to make muscles relax and become less tense.
However, things get a bit more complex than that. Excessive pain comes from certain brain chemicals stimulating too much and these are called NMDA. When magnesium is taken it calms and balances this brain chemical with essentially no side effects. While there are prescription medications that do that same thing to balance NMDA, the medications also come with risks and side effects that most people do not want to deal with on a daily basis.
A 2004 study found that magnesium deficiency is one of the main causes of chronic back pain. Since magnesium supports muscle and nerve function, a deficiency is directly related to impaired muscle and nerve function that can affect the back. Another study also found that patients who suffered from chronic back pain had a significant improvement in pain levels and range of motion of the spine when magnesium supplementation was used. The “findings show that a 2-week intravenous magnesium infusion followed by 4 weeks of oral magnesium supplementation can reduce pain intensity and improve lumbar spine mobility during a 6-month period in patients with refractory chronic low back pain with a neuropathic component,” according to the results of the study by Tanta University.
How to Use Magnesium to Help Back Pain
When it comes to helping manage back pain with magnesium the best way to increase your intake is through food. Your body is able to absorb minerals from food much more efficiently than by taking a supplement. Including a wider variety of foods in your diet that are high in magnesium will help to boost your levels. The recommended daily intake is 400–420 mg for men and 310–320 mg for women.
If you find it challenging to increase your intake through food alone, this is when taking a supplement may possibly help, but it is always best to speak with your doctor to make sure you are doing what is right for your body and unique condition. There are a few different forms of magnesium you can use in supplement form and they are:
The forms of magnesium that are the easiest for your body to absorb include:
- Magnesium citrate
- Magnesium lactate
- Magnesium aspartate
- Magnesium chloride
- Magnesium malate
- Magnesium taurate
You can take the above forms in pills, liquids, and powders that are dissolved in hot or cold water which you then drink. Some people believe that powders are easier for your body to absorb since magnesium can be tricky for your body to absorb well.
Magnesium lotion or oil is another popular choice to increase your body’s levels. Many people think that the lotion/oil form is the easiest and best way for your body to absorb the mineral. A lotion or oil option may be a good choice for treating specific areas of the body such as the back. You can rub the lotion on the areas of your back that are causing the most pain and discomfort in an effort to get to the root of the issue as quickly as possible. Absorption may also be more efficient if you rub it on the backs of your knees and your elbows.
In the end, while it may not work for everyone, taking a magnesium supplement or increasing your magnesium intake with food may end your back pain for good. Magnesium is a natural option that does not pose that same side effects and risks as medications do, making it a good second option to prescription medication.
Magnesium is an inexpensive and readily available supplement that can be found online or at your local store with ease. As always, speak with your doctor or other healthcare professionals if you are taking any other medications, have any health conditions, and or simply before adding a new supplement into your daily routine.
About Dr. Brent Wells
Dr. Brent Wells graduated from the University of Nevada with a Bachelor of Science. He completed his doctorate at Western States Chiropractic College and moved on to start his own business, Better Health Chiropractic Juneau AK.
As a member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians, his knowledge continues to evolve through learning and education in neurology, physical rehab, biomechanics, spine conditions, brain injury trauma, and more.