Magnesium (Mg2+) is an essential ion for the human body. It plays a key role in supporting and sustaining health and life. Serum magnesium values are not generally determined in patients even its the key physiological roles in the brain, heart, and skeletal muscles. However, serum Mg2+ values reflect only 1% of the body Mg2+ content, since most of the body’s Mg2+ is stored in bone, muscle, and soft tissues. Therefore, although serum values are within the normal range, the body can be in a severely Mg2-depleted state. Consequently, the clinical impact of Mg2+ deficiency may be largely underestimated. Muscle cramps are a recurrent and prominent symptom in patients with severe/chronic reductions in magnesium. A muscle cramp is a sudden, involuntary, painful contraction of a muscle or part of it, going away within seconds to minutes and is often accompanied by a knotting of the muscle that you can feel. Although the role of Mg2+ in the development of muscle cramps is not completely understood, it is thought that Mg2+ directly influences muscular contractions by counteracting calcium binding proteins. Additionally, magnesium deficient patients may suffer from neuronal hyperexcitability that can contribute to muscular contraction. Magnesium is also known to have analgesic properties, which have been attributed to its activity as an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist in the central nervous system.
Magnesium – Muscle Cramps and Pain
About the Author: Dean Smith, DC, PhD
Dean Smith, DC, PhD, husband, and father of two children, is a highly respected health and wellness authority. He is a chiropractor at Essence of Wellness Chiropractic Center and a researcher and clinical professor at Miami University. Dr. Smith incorporates lifestyle intervention (exercise, nutrition, other non-drug methods) with chiropractic adjustments and other manual methods to encourage optimal wellness. He has helped countless adults and children lead a life of wellness. His research interests lie broadly in the area of human movement and coordination. He is most interested in how chiropractic, exercise and rehabilitation affect human performance. His scientific articles have been published in such journals as Human Movement Science, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Chiropractic Research Journal, Chiropractic and Osteopathy and The Open Neurology Journal. His training includes a Master’s degree in exercise science, a Doctor of Chiropractic degree and a PhD in brain and cognitive science with a focus on motor control and coordination. The International Federation of Sports Chiropractic has awarded him with the International Chiropractic Sport Science Diploma (ICSSD).