Migraine Control: Magnesium

I’ve had some pretty bad migraines over the past 15 years.  No treatments (medication, physical therapy, etc.) have been successful at treating the pain, so I have really not had a choice but to “learn to live with it” (though I don’t relish hearing others tell me to do this).  However, the frequency and severity of the pain has definitely increased in the past 6 months to the point that I have returned to my search for what to do.

One night last fall, I was in so much pain that I couldn’t get up the stairs to my bed, because my head pounded harder as my heart beat faster.  It usually isn’t that much of a strain to climb stairs, but it seems that any increase in heart rate causes an existing migraine to intensify.  I stopped mid-climb, laid across the stair I was on, and cried.  Coaxing from my husband encouraged me to continue stair-by-stair the rest of the way.

I made it to the recliner in our bedroom, and my husband asked if there was anything he could get me.  Knowing that no pain medication, heat, ice, massage, or hair brushing was going to put a dent in this one, I declined all of them.  The only thing that I could think of was to distract myself with something pleasurable.  I remembered a friend relating how much she enjoyed Epsom salt baths, so I asked for a foot bath with Epsom salts, which my husband gladly brought to me.

At first, I just focused on my feet to get my thoughts off of my head.  However, after about 20 minutes, I noticed that the pain in my head had gone down significantly.  I definitely wasn’t expecting this to happen, but I surely wasn’t going to complain about it!  Even if a migraine doesn’t completely go away, I bet most migraineurs welcome a reduction in pain.  Needless to say, I did more Epsom salt baths (foot and bathtub) over the next couple of days:)

Once my brain fog cleared a few days later, I was eager to learn why the baths helped so much.  Evidently, the magnesium in the Epsom salts is absorbed through skin, and magnesium can be helpful for people with migraines.  I had never heard of this and wondered why none of the medical professionals I had visited had ever revealed it to me.  However, I was glad to be on a track that might help.  An added blessing came via my daughter who was doing research for a paper.  She came across the book “Drug Muggers” by Suzy Cohen in which an entire chapter is dedicated to magnesium, including its impact on pain.  The author also points out that different forms of magnesium can have different side effects.

The magnesium supplement I have decided to use is this one.  Sometimes, I still do an Epsom salt bath in the tub, because this helps my muscles relax.  This is particularly helpful if my neck muscles are getting sore from a migraine.  Rubbing magnesium lotion into my neck and upper back also helps somewhat.  I have even rubbed it into my scalp right through my hair on occasion.  The muscle relaxation from this is worth the horrendous hairdo that results:)

I have found that magnesium is definitely not the whole story of how to control my migraines, but it is partially helpful.  Added to changes in diet and use of other supplements, I am feeling much better and have hope for a much more functional life.


Please note that I am not a doctor, pharmacist, or dietician.  My intent is to post my personal experiences with the hope of suggesting a migraine control option for your to pursue with your doctor.


19 thoughts on “Migraine Control: Magnesium

    • When my migraines became so awful last fall, I stumbled across the magnesium idea. At that time, I did the Epsom salt baths every other day. Then, I found the supplement which was easier to manage from a time standpoint. However, I was still having migraines and barely keeping up with the magnesium. So, while it is helpful, I needed something else to really get farther with migraine management. The effect of the diet change has been huge!

      I may not still need the magnesium every day, but there are days when so many uncontrollable triggers (like fragrances, large barometric changes, etc.) hit that I still get migraines. I am glad that I have a daily dose of magnesium on board, because I feel that it raises my tolerance level. I have also found that my migraines are not as bad since the food triggers are not there. The pain that I get from the other triggers is easier to manage with something as simple as magnesium. When I wasn’t also managing my diet, the magnesium wasn’t enough by itself.

      So, I guess I’m saying that, for me, the diet change has made the biggest impact, but the magnesium also helps, just to a lesser degree.

      Liked by 2 people

    • It doesn’t take much lotion to cover an area, so the bottle lasts a long time. The relaxation of the muscles in the area is worth it for me. When I originally started using it, I was applying it every day. Even so, I didn’t go through it very fast. Since, I have changed my diet, I haven’t been using it as much, so I’m going through less of it now. It is great to have it in my toolbox! Don’t expect a miracle though – it won’t make the migraine go away. It helps to relax muscles that get tense and painful as a result of a migraine. Any reduction of pain is great!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I take my daily dose at bedtime, because it does have a relaxation effect for me. Since I was having problems with insomnia, this is an added benefit! When I am having a migraine, I sometimes take a dose or two during the day. I am able to stay awake when I do this, but can sometimes be sleepy.

      Liked by 1 person

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