Magnesium Deficiency: The Hidden Culprit Behind Migraines, Back Pain and Inflammation

Your body needs magnesium to run smoothly. 
An average adult body contains around 25 grams of magnesium, 60% of which is stored in the skeleton. This macronutrient is a cofactor in the numerous biochemical reactions that continuously occur within the body. It is integral to the process of converting into energy, as well as regulating your nervous system and aiding in muscle contraction and relaxation. 
However, a study conducted in the US found that more than 50% of adults aren’t getting the magnesium they need. This has been linked to a higher incidence of pain and inflammation. 
Are you suffering from some of the tell-tales signs of low magnesium?


Migraines are very painful headaches that often involve visual changes, like spots of light or even temporary loss of sight. They can also cause feelings of nausea and heightened sensitivity to noise. Studies have shown that people prone to migraines are frequently deficient in magnesium. A gradual or sudden drop in magnesium causes blood vessels in the brain to narrow, causing pain and dizziness. This is especially true for those who suffer from migraines with an ‘aura’ (swirling lights and colours in vision). Magnesium helps to prevent cortical spreading depression, the brain signal that causes visual and sensory changes during a migraine. It also promotes proper functioning of blood vessels in the brain and encourages a parasympathetic state. 

Chronic Back or Neck Pain

Whether it’s a dull, constant ache or frequent sharp bouts of incapacitation, chronic pain can make life miserable. While magnesium cannot cure conditions related to long-term pain, such as arthritis, it can help to significantly reduce the inflammation that aggravates them. Increasing magnesium levels helps to prevent cartilage breakdown and reduces the likelihood of inflammatory immune responses that damage cells and tissues. A 2017 study found that women with osteoarthritis who meet the recommended daily intake of magnesium are 27% less likely to experience fractures and bone deterioration in the future. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, magnesium is extremely beneficial for those with rheumatoid arthritis, as it slows the progression of tissue damage, and as a result, reduces the severity of pain associated with the disease.


Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes the nervous system to amplify pain. This can also lead to brain fog and low energy. It’s still a poorly understood condition that is often managed with regular painkillers. However, there is evidence that people suffering from fibromyalgia, especially women, are frequently deficient in magnesium – in fact, those with the lowest levels tend to have the most severe pain. Magnesium’s ability to block certain nerve receptors can significantly help with pain management, as well as lessening the severity of fatigue and brain fog. If you would like to know more about fibromyalgia, read our blog post for more details.

So what next?

Daily magnesium intake is recommended at around 400 mg for men and 360 mg for women. 

It’s a natural compound to the human body so it’s extremely safe to ingest. It can also be found in numerous foods such as leafy green vegetables, bananas, dairy yoghurt, eggs and dark chocolate. It’s generally recommended to maintain your magnesium intake through food as it’s easier for the body to digest, but if you worry that you aren’t able to get enough from your diet it’s worth taking a supplement. Magnesium citrate is a good option, as being bound to citric acid makes it easier to absorb in the digestive process.

If you’d like to take the first steps towards being rid of your chronic pain for you, book in with one one of our chiropractors or physiotherapists at Sundial. We’re always here to help you.