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Does an epsom salts bath relieve pain of sore muscles?

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Does an epsom salts bath relieve pain of sore muscles?
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Medical
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Answered in 7 minutes by:
6/27/2010
Doctor: khagihara, Doctor replied 8 years ago
khagihara
khagihara, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 6,591
Experience: Trained in the multiple medical fields for many years.
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Epsom salt is heptahydrate magnesium sulfate.
Magnesium sulfate, when used through soaking, can soothe muscle pains and help improve rough patches in the skin.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
The following sebsite has what looks like a well researched article that disputes this claim. Why is this article incorrect?
Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Doctor: khagihara, Doctor replied 8 years ago
Magnesium sulfate is clinically used to stop premature labor by relaxing uterine muscles. It is also clinically used to reduce the high blood pressure during the baby delivery by relaxing the smooth muscles of the blood vessel. It should work to relax the muscles.
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Doctor: Family Physician, Doctor replied 8 years ago
Family Physician
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Satisfied Customers: 12,816
Experience: Emergency Medicine and Family Practice for over 26 years
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Given intravenously, magnesium does indeed cause relaxation of muscles. Unfortunately, there is very little science to support any health benefits of adding Epsom salts to your bath water.

Specifically, there is not a single published scientific study to support any effect of taking baths or soaking in Epsom salt for sore muscles, strains, sprains or other injury.

There are a few studies that show some benefit of bathing in Dead Sea Salts (which has a higher concentration of magnesium that other sea salts) for patients with osteoarthritis, but this effect can NOT be proven to be related to the magnesium, since Dead Sea Salts contain many other trace minerals including bromide.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2397624

Dead sea salt also has been shown to have some benefit for skin conditions
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15689218

While many people would say "it can't hurt", you have to understand that IF there is indeed any significant absorption of magnesium from the soaking (which would be needed to logically explain any benefit) for sore muscles, you would need to be sure that you don't have chronic kidney disease, since patients with CKD can have problems with higher than normal magnesium levels.
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