Nerve pain can be challenging to manage. The current medications used to treat conditions characterized by nerve pain often provide only partial relief. Because of this, combination therapy is sometimes recommended in the hope of providing better relief. Magnesium is emerging as a potential treatment in combination therapy. Research is still in the early stages, but magnesium is an inexpensive and readily available dietary supplement. Work with your doctor if you're considering using it for nerve pain.
Studies have found that people who have migraines tend to have lower levels of magnesium than people who don’t get headaches. Some scientists believe that magnesium blocks signals in the brain that lead to migraines with an aura, or changes in vision and other senses. Research also suggests that magnesium stops certain chemicals that cause pain. What’s more, a drop in magnesium levels also seems to cause blood vessels in the brain to narrow or constrict, which may also play a role in migraine.
Scientists aren't completely sure how magnesium helps alleviate nerve pain. It may have something to do with magnesium's potential influence on inflammation, however. Experimental evidence in animals found that magnesium regulates processes involved in the inflammatory response. When cellular magnesium increases, inflammatory processes such as the release of pro-inflammatory proteins decrease. Magnesium may also prevent the activation of receptors found in nerve cells that regulate pain. More studies are needed, but these findings suggest magnesium plays a role in regulating pain, according to a study published in the February 2007 issue of the journal Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
Fibromyalgia is characterized by overactive nerves that send signals to the brain. These signals cause widespread tenderness and pain. Taking magnesium with medication used to treat fibromyalgia may be beneficial, according to a study published in the January 2013 issue of the journal Rheumatology International. Researchers found that magnesium levels were lower in fibromyalgia patients than in a control group, and scientists say it may be a factor in fibromyalgia. They found that taking magnesium in combination with amitriptyline -- a drug used to treat fibromyalgia -- effectively relieves fibromyalgia symptoms.
The sciatic nerve starts at your lower back and runs down your legs to your feet. Sciatic nerve pain, referred to as sciatica, is common and occurs when the nerve is injured or irritated. While human studies are needed, animal data suggest that supplementing magnesium offers benefits. Researchers gave magnesium supplements to mice with sciatic nerve injury and found that it improved their sciatica. Magnesium suppressed inflammatory proteins involved in pain signals and enhanced regeneration of the sciatic nerve. The study was published in the June 2011 issue of the journal Magnesium Research.
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