Chronic back pain is often just chronic muscle tension. Tight muscles hurt. Its as simple as that. There are so many reasons for muscles to be tight, and figuring out why your muscles are tight is an absolute essential key to resolving your back pain. The commonest causes are the good old poor posture, muscle imbalance, over use of certain muscles, not stretching enough, overdoing it at the gym.
But there’s another very important, very simple to resolve cause of muscle tension: Magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is an incredibly important mineral, required for nerve conduction. It is a crucial element for muscle relaxation, and without it, muscles cannot relax. Out of the blue, magnesium deficiency is suddenly extremely common. Researchers are now calling it the ‘silent epidemic of our times’. Silent, because most people don’t know they are deficient, and the symptoms caused by lack of magnesium are often attributed to other causes, so the magnesium deficiency is missed. Epidemic of our times, because the common causes of reduced magnesium in your body are excess alcohol, salt, coffee, phosphoric acid in colas, prolonged stress, antibiotics.
One study in Kosovo showed that people under chronic war stress lost large amounts of magnesium in their urine.
So how do you know if you are deficient?
Well this is the difficult thing - there is no reliable test for magnesium deficiency, because normal levels of magnesium have been found in the blood and plasma, when patients are chronically deficient. So blood tests are not a good marker. The most accepted method of diagnosis at the moment is symptom picture.
So… you may be magnesium deficient if you suffer with any of the following classic neuromuscular signs: • Muscle spasms • Muscle cramping • Fibromyalgia • Facial tics • Eye twitches, or involuntary eye movements
Other signs include: • Insomnia • Irritability • Anxiety • PMS
Magnesium is affectionately known as ‘The Relaxation Mineral”. Anything that is tight or crampy, even your emotional state, can respond well to increasing the magnesium content in your body. Even menstrual cramps have been known to be relieved.
So what’s to be done? What’s the easiest and quickest way to increase your magnesium levels?
Well, a simple 2 pronged attack will do:
1. Stop do the things that are leaching magnesium from your body Limit coffee, colas, alcohol, sugar Reduce your stress levels by learning to relax
2. Increase your intake of magnesium by;
Eating foods containing magnesium
Foods to include in your diet that contain magnesium are: Kelp, wheat bran, wheat germ, almonds, cashews, buckwheat, Brazil nuts, dulse, filberts, millet, pecans, walnuts, rye, tofu, soy beans, brown rice, figs, dates, collard greens, shrimp, avocado, parsley, beans, barley, dandelion greens, and garlic, supplementing with magnesium - there are many ways to supplement with magnesium; orally or transdermally.- Orally in powder or tablet form (I recommend www.biocare.co.uk for high quality supplements), or transdermally by applying a magnesium oil directly to the area of pain. (Try this: http://www.ancient-minerals.com/products/magnesium-oil/) Some people say that placing some epsom salts in a bath is a great way to increase magnesium levels trans-dermally (obviously you also need to sit in the bath!!)
*If you decide to supplement, please check with your doctor first if you are on any other medications, as magnesium affects the absorption or calcium and can interfere with medications that are addressing calcium levels.
So there we are… good luck dear friend - hopefully this is another piece of your puzzle on your way towards resolving your back pain.