Magnesium For Back Pain


One significant mineral that is essential to the health of the human body is magnesium. It helps your muscles operate properly, eases cramps, prevents kidney stones, maintains normal blood pressure, lowers blood sugar levels, and improves your mood. Over 300 enzymes that help your body's various reactions are regulated by magnesium.1

The National Institute of Health states that magnesium is a mineral that is widely distributed in the foods that we consume every day.2 Magnesium is abundant in foods including whole grains, almonds, spinach, cashews, beans, meat, and green vegetables. It can also be found in various medications, such as antacids and laxatives.3 4

About 50% to 60% of the 25 grams of magnesium in an adult's body is found in their bones, with the remaining portion being distributed across their soft tissues and bodily fluids. The effects of the stress your body has acquired through the years start to manifest as you age, which could cause physical pain. There are methods to reduce discomfort, such as taking a magnesium supplement.

How does magnesium affect back pain? 

Back pain is a musculoskeletal condition that affects people all over the world.5 Low back pain is one reason patients visit the clinic because they occasionally struggle to perform their daily activities. Did you know that low back pain is the most common cause of disability worldwide? Its prevalence increases with age, primarily affecting the elderly.6

Ineffective back pain management could result in permanent disability. Though it rarely lasts longer than a few weeks, discomfort occasionally lingers or keeps returning. Back pain may be caused by heavy lifting, poor seated or sleeping posture, or the mattress on which you sleep.

Opioids and other complementary therapies are frequently used to alleviate back pain, but they have adverse side effects. Nutrition management may play an important role in pain management. 

One natural and affordable method of relieving back pain is magnesium. Research supports the claim that magnesium is a useful painkiller.7 It has the power to ease tension and relax muscles. According to a study done on persons who were going to undergo surgery, the result showed that patients treated with magnesium experienced bearable discomfort.8 Try including more magnesium in your routine if you're looking for relief from back discomfort.

Which magnesium is best for back pain?

There are various forms of magnesium, each with unique properties and they differ in terms of medical use and how your body absorbs it. Below are the types of magnesium:

Magnesium citrate: This is a compound of magnesium and citric acid. Citrus fruits naturally contain citric acid, which can be used to treat constipation, reduce stress, and ease anxiety.

Magnesium malate: This is a compound of magnesium and malic acid. Some research claims that it's easily absorbed in the body. 

Magnesium glycinate: This is a fusion of magnesium with glycine, an amino acid. Although glycine is produced by the body, it may be found in most protein-rich diets. It is readily absorbed by the body and may be used to treat anxiety, sleeplessness, or stress.

Magnesium orotate: This compound is obtained from a mixture of magnesium and orotic acid.9 It's said to improve heart health.

Magnesium lactate: This is magnesium combined with lactic acid. According to a study, there is evidence that magnesium lactate is easily absorbed into the digestive system.10

Magnesium taurate: This is a compound of magnesium and taurine, a naturally occurring amino acid within the body.11 It can be found in fruits and your body. Amino acids join together to form proteins which can help to grow and repair the body. 

Magnesium oxide: This is a compound of magnesium and oxygen. It's often used to relieve digestive issues like heartburn, indigestion, and constipation. 

Magnesium sulfate: This form of magnesium, sometimes referred to as Epsom salts, is produced by mixing magnesium with sulfur and oxygen.12 Since Epsom salts are easily absorbed by the body when combined with water, some individuals add them to their bathwater to help with stress relief, sore muscles, and nerve pain.13

Magnesium chloride: This is a magnesium and chlorine compound. It can be found in tropical goods like lotion or magnesium oil. Some individuals use this oil and lotion to calm their nerves and muscles.

Magnesium L-threonate: This is created when threonine acid, which is obtained from the breakdown of vitamin c, is combined with magnesium.14 Certain brain problems including depression and memory loss may be treated with this kind of magnesium.

The most effective form of magnesium to use for back pain is magnesium sulfate, generally referred to as Epsom salts. It can be ingested or absorbed through the skin. Both sulfate and magnesium have therapeutic properties; they relieve muscle pain, lower back pain, and other aches and pains by reducing swelling and inflammation.

How much magnesium should I take for back pain?

The recommended dosage varies based on your needs and age group. The suggested upper limit requirement and recommended daily allowance (RDA) are set out by the National Institute of Health.15 Below is a table that shows you the requirement for different age groups:

The upper limit for Magnesium in dietary supplements and medications
Life stageUpper limits
From birth - 12 monthsNot stated
Children 1-3 years65mg
Children 4- 8 years110mg
Children 9 - 18 years 350mg
Adults 350mg

The RDA consists of the magnesium obtained from different sources like food, beverages, medication, and dietary supplements. It also varies based on life stage and biological gender. The table below shows the daily requirement: 

Magnesium recommended daily amount requirements from different sources (food, beverages, dietary supplements, and medications.)
Life StageRecommended daily amount
Birth to 6 months30mg
Infants 7 - 12 months75mg
Children 1-3 years80mg
Children 4-8 years130mg 
Children 9-13 years240mg
Teens boys* 14-18 years410mg
Teen girls** 14-18 years360mg 
Men*400mg - 420mg
Women**310mg - 320mg
Pregnant teens**420mg
Pregnant women**350mg - 360mg
Breastfeeding teens**360mg
Breastfeeding women**310mg - 320mg

* Those assigned male at birth (AMAB)

** Those assigned female at birth (AFAB)

Side effects and other concerns 

When consumed in the appropriate amounts or when your body has an adequate supply of magnesium, magnesium is known to provide several health benefits, including regulating blood pressure and blood sugar levels and supporting muscles and nerves.

Although you should be aware of magnesium deficiency. When consumption falls below the RDA, the following are the potential effects:

  • Abnormal heart rhythm 
  • Nausea 
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Weakness of the bone 
  • Muscle cramps 
  • Twitches or weakness 
  • High blood pressure 

Also, magnesium deficiency has been traced to a range of long term health issues:

  • Alzheimer's disease 
  • Migraine 
  • Osteoporosis 


When a high dosage of magnesium is acquired through the use of a supplement, toxicity can occur. People with kidney disease are more vulnerable to toxicity. Due to their kidney's inability to remove the extra magnesium from their system, they experience the following symptoms: 

  • Diarrhoea 
  • Heart attack 
  • Muscle weakness 
  • Abnormal heartbeat 
  • Nausea 


Your body requires magnesium to function better. It may cause unpleasant health problems if not consumed in the proper amount.  Your body can fulfil its daily requirements if you take the proper dosage. Most adults can safely take doses below 350 milligrams unless their doctor suggests otherwise based on their health assessment.  Many different magnesium supplements are sold over the counter in stores. 


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  3. Salisbury BH, Terrell JM. Antacids. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 [cited 2023 Jan 28]. Available from:
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  5. Casiano VE, Sarwan G, Dydyk AM, Varacallo M. Back pain. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 [cited 2023 Jan 28]. Available from:
  6. Wu A, March L, Zheng X, Huang J, Wang X, Zhao J, et al. Global low back pain prevalence and years lived with disability from 1990 to 2017: estimates from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. Ann Transl Med [Internet]. 2020 Mar [cited 2023 Jan 28];8(6):299. Available from:
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  8. Shi L, Zhu H, Ma J, Shi LL, Gao F, Sun W. Intra-articular magnesium to alleviate postoperative pain after arthroscopic knee surgery: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Orthop Surg Res. 2021 Feb 5;16(1):111. Available from:
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  10. Schuchardt JP, Hahn A. Intestinal absorption and factors influencing bioavailability of magnesium-an update. Curr Nutr Food Sci [Internet]. 2017 Nov [cited 2023 Jan 28];13(4):260–78. Available from:
  11. Jong CJ, Sandal P, Schaffer SW. The role of taurine in mitochondria health: more than just an antioxidant. Molecules [Internet]. 2021 Aug 13 [cited 2023 Jan 28];26(16):4913. Available from:
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  14. PubChem. Threonic acid [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jan 28]. Available from:
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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Oluwasola Samuel

Bs.c, Economics, Osun state University

Hello, I'm Oluwasola Samuel,a medical writer. Aside from that, I work as an Insurance Sales Associate. My work in the insurance industry has made me more aware of the careless and dismissive attitudes that some people have toward health issues.
As a health advocate and writer, I use thoroughly researched data to help my audience make informed health decisions that will enhance their quality of life.
I am creative and have strong research, communication, time management, and qualitative abilities. All of these assist me in creating excellent health content that not only connects with my audience but also captivates them and establishes effective communication.

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