Magnesium for Muscle Spasms

I didn't really know the difference in brands beyond the labels, but I chose to buy the magnesium from the co-op so at least there was some form of quality control.
I didn’t really know the difference in brands beyond the labels, but I chose to buy the magnesium from the co-op so at least there was some form of quality control.

I’m still feeling stronger in general from cutting out every bit of processed food, but I’ve been having really bad trouble with muscle spasms again. My neck, back, and hips are so tight that I can’t move normally. The orthopedist dry-needled my hip and back last week and shot steroids (which I HATE) into my hip. The chiropractor gave me a couple of a major back and pelvis adjustments earlier this week, and the massage therapist tried to work through my concrete-like muscles. Two nights ago, I had one of the scariest episodes of muscle spasms ever.

I went to bed with my usual grouping of pillows—cervical pillow under my head and neck, memory foam pillow under my knees, thin synthetic pillow under my ankles and feet—and thought I might be able to sleep with minimal back and neck pain. That part was true, but around 4 a.m. I awoke to what felt like someone tearing my left calf muscles off the bone.

Normal calf cramps are something I’m quite familiar with, and this episode was nothing like the post-workout, dehydration-induced cramps of the past. The pain was so intense that I was yelling, and I’m usually pretty controlled since I’m used to fibromyalgia. No amount of squeezing the muscle and trying to stretch it was working, and I was terrified that something was happening to my body that could not be undone. My neck’s been spasming for 3 ½ years. My back’s been bad since October 2013. And now my lower leg?

The excruciating pain finally subsided and the muscle unwound a bit after two of us nearly squeezed it to death. I couldn’t straighten my knee or dorsiflex my ankle, and I had to crawl to the bathroom. Every time I tried to do anything but keep the leg bent and guarded, the spasm would start again. I’ve never experienced pain like that—not even when I was kicked in the face and broke my nose and cracked my jaw. I knew I wouldn’t die from a leg spasm, but it was the kind of pain that makes me wish it would kill me swiftly.

Fibromyalgia is a cruel game of trial and error. I’ve got the diet thing down pretty well, although there’s always room for tinkering with specific foods. I thought I was getting plenty of nutrition since I eat only fresh meats and vegetables and fruits, but now I’m considering magnesium deficiency as a possible spasm cause (or contributing factor).

Has anybody else tried magnesium supplements? As soon as I was able to get out of the house, I carefully loaded myself into my SUV and drove to the local co-op for organic bananas (potassium) and magnesium supplements. I noticed a decline in muscular tightness within two hours of taking the first magnesium pill. I’m hoping that a buildup of magnesium will finally stop the recurrent spasming in my body.

I’d love to hear from anybody with magnesium supplement experience. As always, y’all can private message me on Facebook or leave a comment here.

7 Replies to “Magnesium for Muscle Spasms”

  1. Taking magnesium keeps my Restless Leg Syndrome and leg cramps on the almost non-existent level. I did, and still do, research on different versions of it to take. Magnesium can upset the digestive system (diarrhea). The malate form or malic acid form seem to get good reviews. The key, as with all supplements is the which form is bio-available and what do you need to take with it to get the most out of it. Some people insist that Calcium and Mag have to go together but I have found I do better without the combination. I also just found Magneium L-Threonate which doesn’t have the laxative side effect with the amounts that I take.

    1. Sonja, thank you for your input! I’m not taking the combination of cal/mag, but I bought some. I’m sticking with 200mg magnesium right now and definitely noticing positive results already. I’m taking one capsule twice per day. How long did you take mag before noticing results? I’m glad you found something that works for you!

  2. I so agree, magnesium and banana’s work great. I also find I sleep better after eating a banana about 1/2 hour before bed. I too get those spasms, and nothing you do, not walking it off – nothing works. As you think it’s getting better, it strikes again, and the toes curl up, the arch tightens, and it’s rub the muscles. Sometimes I think my husband will kick me out of bed for the antics I go through. Mag is good and I use a magnesium from Solaray too. After working in a health food store I found this brand to be excellent in everything they sell. No I am not a distributor promoting. I just found certain brands were better.

    1. Deb, thank you for your two cents! I just took a magnesium capsule and am about to eat a banana. I was able to stay on the elliptical for an hour at the gym today, and I’m pretty sure my calf muscles are recovering quickly because of the magnesium. I agree– when you’re in the midst of a spasm, walking it off is definitely not an option. I hope your symptoms continue to improve!

  3. I agree! I also throw in coconut water after runs which helps. I have been battling these types of craps for just over a year now. I have them at least once a day and get woken up about once a week or every other week that bring me to tears. Mine go into my feet now. It is worse when I don’t take any thing and making sure I consume potassium and magnesium usually makes them just an annoyance. I also got a calf stretcher that I use at least twice a day. I hope you are able to control them. I know that they can be some of the worst and most disruptive cramps.

  4. Here’s my strategy ~ I keep mini bottles of tonic water with quinine on hand to drink immediately, and jumping in the tub with the hot water shower sprayer on it helps relieve an acute cramp too. I quickle nuke a corncozy (like a rice sock) to keep heat on the spot/ under the sheets. I take an herbal ‘water pill’ with potassium regularly, and make sure to eat a banana every day, since when I slack off the nighttime leg-cramping returns. I take 1000mgs magnesium oxide at bedtime because of the relaxation properties, and that form offsets a tendency to be constipated so it works ok for me. Regular stretches are very important, done as warm-up/cool-downs or within pilates & yoga workouts, etc. So important to maintain or gain flexibility, muscles & tissues detoxing/lymph drainage, and never stop moving. I found lots of free online PT video (ie. utube) resources for targeting problem areas.

    1. Millie, thank you so much for sharing your strategy! It sounds like you have a great system. I hope it continues to work for you. 🙂

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