This month’s follow up appointment at Southeastern Spine Institute was with a Physician’s Assistant instead of my regular pain management doctor. She spent a lot of time with me. We discussed my going off of the pain medicine in the next month or so, this was different than what the MD told me last month which was that I was to stay on the current dose for AT LEAST 2 more months. I am not opposed to going off the meds, actually I asked him last month about it and that was why he told me to wait 2 more months. In addition to talking about weaning off the pain meds, she also started me on 2 new prescriptions. Zanaflex (a muscle relaxant) to replace the Flexeril/Amrix (cyclobenzaprine) that I have been taking. The Amrix was a long acting version of flexeril that was prescribed 2 months ago to help avoid the severe stiffness and pain that I wake up with every morning. When I first wake up in the morning, I feel like the tin man in the Wizard of Oz, I need an oilcan to get my back moving again and my low back feels as if its made of rusted metal. Whatever position I was asleep in last, I am stuck in. I move very slowly and do some stretches before I actually try and get up. This goes on for about the first hour of wakefulness, by the time I get out the shower my back feels freed up.
I never noticed a difference while taking Amrix or Flexeril though. Zanaflex is to be taken at bedtime but she told me I could try it during the day after I make sure it doesn’t make me sleepy like flexeril does. If I take a flexeril I am guaranteed to be asleep within 30 minutes!
The other new RX is for Magnesium. I had heard of it before and knew it was a mineral but I really never knew how many things magnesium levels react with in our bodies, I also didn’t know that you could get a prescription for a mineral, but its nice because my insurance makes all my prescriptions $5 except for rare brand name drugs. Magnesium is a mineral that is found in our diets if we eat legumes (beans, lentils etc), nuts (especially almonds), bananas, whole grain foods, oatmeal and spinach (especially cooked). The problem is that you have to eat a fairly large quantity of these foods to get the recommended daily amount. For instance 1 cup of cooked spinach has 39% of your daily amount of magnesium. One cup is a whole lot of cooked spinach to eat in one serving!
“Do you feel irritable, weak and exhausted all the time? You may be suffering from a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is a crucial, but frequently overlooked, part of a balanced diet. It’s crucial in more than 300 bodily functions – many of which give you energy.” Dr Oz
“Research on red blood cells has shown that lower levels of magnesium can make the cells more fragile – leading to a decrease in available red blood cells. Red blood cells are vital for increasing your energy levels because they deliver needed oxygen to tissues.
A 2002 study also revealed that low magnesium levels disrupt the body’s efficiency for using energy stores. The researchers assessed the effects of dietary magnesium restriction during exercise in postmenopausal women. They found low magnesium levels led to higher oxygen use and higher heart rates during exercise.
This suggests magnesium helps to optimize the use of oxygen in order to burn calories and feel more energized, and a lower level of magnesium hinders that process.
Magnesium is widely available in different foods – especially green vegetables, cereals, and fruits. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of magnesium for young adults is around 400 mg/day for men and 310 mg/day for women. For adults over 30, the RDA is 420 mg/day for men and 320 mg/day for women. However, despite how easy it is to find magnesium, studies have shown that between 68-75% of American adults are magnesium deficient.”
This link has a list of magnesium rich foods
All of this came as a surprise to me since I have had many of these symptoms for years, even before I had this surgery; fatigue, low energy, headaches, restless legs in the evening. The PA told me that she was giving me a prescription dose to help with the muscle spasms that I have been having not only in my back but also my legs and feet. Now I know that it will also help me to have more energy as well as helping my heart health since I am being treated for high blood pressure, it even helps lower the bad cholesterol in your blood, helps with nerve function and in my case nerve regeneration since there was damage done by having the surgery and also works with calcium to increase bone density which is also an important consideration since I have bones in my spine that are busy fusing right now. I thought I would share all this since its apparently a big problem among adults to have low magnesium levels and it can be purchased otc in the vitamin aisle so if you have any of the symptoms or conditions that I have listed on here, give it a try, ask your doctor first of course but maybe it will help you too!