Pain in the body caused by spasms and cramps often involves tension in muscles. Thus the use of magnesium for muscle cramps is becoming more and more popular.
Magnesium effectively relieves pain through several mechanisms. When the cause of muscle cramps is tension or lack of flexibility in muscles and connective tissues (or rigidity of cell membranes), magnesium relaxes muscles and tissues, and reduces rigidity in cell membranes.
Magnesium provides for flexibility and suppleness throughout the body, and provides efficient and powerful natural cramp relief. In particular, topical magnesium chloride can provide rapid relief when applied directly to muscles. The unique local effects of transdermal magnesium therapy make it an ideal modality for pain and tension in muscles, joints, connective tissues, and other tissues that benefit from local application.
Magnesium as a Muscle Relaxant
Magnesium is especially effective for pain related to muscle tension. The mechanism by which magnesium relaxes muscles (and other body tissues) relates to the complex relationship of magnesium to calcium. Calcium exists primarily outside of cells, but magnesium is mostly found within cells.
While calcium excites nerves and is required for muscles to contract, magnesium has a calming effect on nerves and is required for muscles to relax.
Calcium assists the body when muscular action is needed, such as when the body’s sympathetic system is activated in the fight-or-flight response. However, the normal concentration of magnesium inside cells is typically 10,000 times that of calcium.1
If levels of magnesium ions within cells fall below normal levels (as happens in magnesium deficiency), then calcium ions can flow into cells. When this occurs, excess calcium can cause cells to become hyperexcited.
Although cells in the heart and blood vessels are particularly vulnerable to deficits in magnesium that enable abnormal elevations of intracellular calcium, muscle cells throughout the body exhibit a similar response to calcium overload:
The Cause of Muscle Cramps: Magnesium Deficiency
Because magnesium is necessary for muscles to relax, an overload of calcium causes muscle tension and cramping. Extreme magnesium deficiency can cause chronic muscle spasms.
Maintaining adequate levels of magnesium allows the body to balance magnesium and calcium in order to maintain proper muscle function and prevent imbalances of these minerals in the body. Yet, even when magnesium levels are adequate, muscle tension can be a source of pain.
Topical application of magnesium for muscle spasms can provide relief from muscle tension that may relate to stress, overuse, strain or other injury, or structural problems. Magnesium offers the most natural form of pain relief for tense muscles, acts as an antispasmodic to relax muscles, addresses magnesium deficiencies, and balances calcium in the body.
Natural Cramp Relief and “NDMA” Pain Receptors
The mechanisms by which magnesium relieves pain include blocking pain at receptor sites, and therefore acting directly against sources of pain. In particular, magnesium is an antagonist to the N-Methyl-D-Aspartate (or NMDA) receptor site. When magnesium levels in the body are sufficient, the body can use magnesium to block the NMDA receptor site to stop pain.
Magnesium is unique in providing direct blockage of pain at the receptor site naturally. Using magnesium to reduce or block pain allows users to avoid the side effects commonly experienced when taking pain-blocking drugs.
The NMDA receptor site has been associated with sensitization of the spinal cord that occurs when there is not enough magnesium to block the receptor site. That is, the sensitivity of spinal circuits is facilitated by repetitive pain stimuli knocking magnesium from NMDA receptors.3
When magnesium at the receptor site is not replenished, then the stage is set for sensitization of nervous tissue and the development of chronic neuropathic pain.4 Magnesium, therefore, helps to prevent immediate pain and the establishment of chronic pain by blocking the NMDA receptor site.
In addition to blocking pain at the receptor site, magnesium prevents or reduces pain by acting against the sources of pain. These sources include pain caused by inflammation, insufficient levels of cellular energy, or reduced enzyme function in the body. That is, magnesium acts via multiple modes to combat pain at its source.
Magnesium for Muscle Cramps
Low magnesium, cramps and muscle pain have clearly demonstrated relationships and magnesium – muscle relaxant and pain blocker – has become a favorite natural and complementary form of treatment.
Transdermal magnesium chloride therapy is one of the best ways to ensure the uptake of sufficient magnesium in order to provide the body with the levels it needs to prevent (or reduce) acute and chronic pain.
Magnesium chloride effectively stops pain by acting against the source of the pain and by blocking the pain until its source can be addressed. In this way, transdermally applied magnesium chloride can accomplish what pain medications typically do not accomplish, i.e., simultaneously addressing the symptoms and causes of pain.
When considering the many remarkable benefits magnesium chloride offers, its ability to reduce or stop pain brings another dimension to its unique profile of capabilities for supporting health. This is another major reason to embrace transdermal magnesium therapy as a primary health modality.
Magnesium provides natural cramp relief, alleviating pain caused by muscle spasms and chronic tension without the use of drugs or medications.
The fact that magnesium brings relief not only from many symptoms and conditions (including those relating to magnesium deficiency), but also from the pain they cause, justifies its description as a “medicinal nutrient.” No other nutrient or drug can fulfill the role of magnesium for pain.
Transdermal application of magnesium chloride is the preferred modality for supplying magnesium in support of the body’s efforts to manage, lessen, or eliminate pain.