Magnesium Spray for Muscle Relaxation and Pain Relief

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When muscle pains and aches present from health conditions, work, exercise, housework, etc., many individuals turn to topical sprays, creams, ointments, and gels to bring relief. Can magnesium spray be beneficial in the fight against neuromusculoskeletal pain?

Magnesium Spray

Magnesium spray is a liquid form of magnesium applied externally to the skin that has been marketed to promote muscle relaxation, improve sleep, and manage migraines. However, studies of its effectiveness have had mixed results. Some studies have shown that topical use can:

  • Improve chronic muscle and joint pain. Example: fibromyalgia.
  • Decrease the frequency and severity of nerve pain symptoms. Example: peripheral neuropathy.
  • Reduce the incidence and severity of an intubation-related sore throat after surgery.
  • Further studies of various groups are necessary to clarify the optimal dose for each condition and to determine how topical magnesium affects magnesium blood levels.

What is It?

Magnesium is a mineral that has an important role in many of the body’s processes and is essential for the following (Gröber U. et al., 2017)

  • Nerve transmission
  • Muscle contraction
  • Blood pressure regulation
  • Blood sugar regulation
  • Protein production
  • DNA and RNA production

Currently, there is no recommended dosage for topical magnesium use. However, some major health institutions have established a recommended daily amount taken by mouth. Listed are the recommended daily magnesium intake based on age and other factors. (National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, 2022)

  • 14 to 18 years old: 410 mg for males, 360 mg for females and when lactating, and 400 mg when pregnant.
  • 19 to 30 years old: 400 mg for males, 310 mg for females and when lactating, and 350 mg when pregnant.
  • 31 to 50 years old: 420 mg for males, 320 mg for females and when lactating, and 360 mg when pregnant.
  • 51 years old and above: 420 mg for males and 320 mg for females.

Although self-care is appropriate for minor injuries or exercise, individuals are encouraged to see their healthcare provider for severe musculoskeletal pain symptoms.

Benefits

Though taking oral magnesium supplements is common, there is limited research on using magnesium on the skin to improve magnesium levels. Studies comparing the absorption of magnesium taken by mouth with the spray applied to the skin require further research. However, some studies look at the localized effect of magnesium spray on improving a sore throat after surgery and nerve, muscle, and joint pain.

Intubation-Related Sore Throat

Topical magnesium reduced the severity of sore throat after surgery in individuals undergoing tracheal intubation compared to a placebo. (Kuriyama, A. et al., 2019) However, further studies are necessary to clarify the optimal dose.

Nerve Pain

Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage that causes a tingling and numbing sensation in the arms or legs. In a study of individuals with chronic kidney disease, the daily application of magnesium sprays to limbs affected by peripheral neuropathy for twelve weeks decreased the frequency and severity of nerve pain symptoms. However, one limitation was that it was performed mostly in females. (Athavale, A. et al., 2023)

Chronic Muscle and Joint Pain

A small study assessed whether applying magnesium to the skin could improve the quality of life of female participants with fibromyalgia – a chronic condition that causes muscle and joint pain, fatigue, and other symptoms. The study found that four sprays of magnesium chloride applied twice daily to the upper and lower limbs for four weeks could benefit those with fibromyalgia. However, further research with larger studies is needed to confirm the results. (Engen D. J. et al., 2015)

Does The Spray Increase Overall Magnesium Levels?

Magnesium is transported into cells through magnesium transporters. The outer layer of the skin does not contain these transporters, so absorption occurs in the small areas of the sweat glands and hair follicles. (Gröber U. et al., 2017) One study suggested that applying magnesium to the skin can help with magnesium deficiency within four to six weeks, compared to four to 12 months in the case of oral magnesium supplementation. However, there is minimal research on topical magnesium and its impact on magnesium levels. Another study suggested that 56 mg of magnesium cream applied daily on the skin for 14 days had no statistically significant effect on magnesium blood levels. Although the results were statistically insignificant, a clinically relevant increase in magnesium blood levels was observed. (Kass, L. et al., 2017) Because it remains unclear if magnesium absorption via the skin is more effective than by mouth, further studies are necessary to confirm the amount of magnesium absorbed into the skin.

Using The Spray

In one study, a magnesium chloride solution was poured into a spray bottle and applied as follows (Engen D. J. et al., 2015)

  • The solution was sprayed into the palm and applied evenly on the affected area.
  • There is a four-hour wait time between spray dose applications.
  • Individuals should wait at least one hour after application before showering or washing the product off.
  • Leave the product on the skin throughout the day and wash it off before bed.
  • Rinse the solution off with water if the skin becomes irritated.
  • Avoid applying to open wounds.

Precautions

Avoid magnesium chloride sprays if you are allergic to them or their components. If you have a severe allergic reaction, such as itching, hives, or shortness of breath, seek immediate medical attention. Topically applied magnesium solution has no known side effects other than skin irritation. (Engen D. J. et al., 2015)

Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Clinic works with primary healthcare providers and specialists to develop a personalized treatment plan through an integrated approach to treating injuries and chronic pain syndromes, improving flexibility, mobility, and agility programs to relieve pain and help individuals return to optimal function. If other treatments are needed, Dr. Jimenez has teamed up with top surgeons, clinical specialists, medical researchers, and rehabilitation providers to provide the most effective treatments.


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References

Gröber, U., Werner, T., Vormann, J., & Kisters, K. (2017). Myth or Reality-Transdermal Magnesium?. Nutrients, 9(8), 813. doi.org/10.3390/nu9080813

National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. (2022). Magnesium. Retrieved from ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/#h2

Kuriyama, A., Maeda, H., & Sun, R. (2019). Topical application of magnesium to prevent intubation-related sore throat in adult surgical patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Application topique de magnésium pour prévenir les maux de gorge liés à l’intubation chez les patients chirurgicaux adultes: revue systématique et méta-analyse. Canadian journal of anaesthesia = Journal canadien d’anesthesie, 66(9), 1082–1094. doi.org/10.1007/s12630-019-01396-7

Athavale, A., Miles, N., Pais, R., Snelling, P., & Chadban, S. J. (2023). Transdermal Magnesium for the Treatment of Peripheral Neuropathy in Chronic Kidney Disease: A Single-Arm, Open-Label Pilot Study. Journal of palliative medicine, 26(12), 1654–1661. doi.org/10.1089/jpm.2023.0229

Engen, D. J., McAllister, S. J., Whipple, M. O., Cha, S. S., Dion, L. J., Vincent, A., Bauer, B. A., & Wahner-Roedler, D. L. (2015). Effects of transdermal magnesium chloride on quality of life for patients with fibromyalgia: a feasibility study. Journal of integrative medicine, 13(5), 306–313. doi.org/10.1016/S2095-4964(15)60195-9

Kass, L., Rosanoff, A., Tanner, A., Sullivan, K., McAuley, W., & Plesset, M. (2017). Effect of transdermal magnesium cream on serum and urinary magnesium levels in humans: A pilot study. PloS one, 12(4), e0174817. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0174817

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Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Magnesium Spray for Muscle Relaxation and Pain Relief" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, acupuncture, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

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Our office has reasonably attempted to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
Texas DC License # TX5807, New Mexico DC License # NM-DC2182

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