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Vitamin D and Low Back Pain

Humans through the conversion of sun exposure on our skin obtain Vitamin D. Studies show that vitamin D levels are similar for people that live in Florida, Boston, and Canada. Fear of excess sun exposure has scared many out of the sun, regardless of where we live, and into vitamin D deficiency.

A research study published in one of the world’s most prestigious medical journals suggests that Vitamin D deficiency could be a contributor to chronic low back pain.  Chronic back pain is pain that has been present for greater than 3 months. The purpose of this study was to investigate the contribution of vitamin D deficiency as a cause for chronic low back pain. The study included 360 patients who had experienced low back pain that had no obvious cause for more than 6 months. The patients ranged in age from 15 to 52 years (1).

Blood test for vitamin D levels were taken before and after treatment with vitamin D supplements. Findings showed that 83% of the studied patients had an abnormally low level of vitamin D before treatment with vitamin D supplements. After treatment, clinical improvement in symptoms was seen in all the groups that had a low level of vitamin D, and in 95% of all the patients.

This study showed that Vitamin D deficiency is a major contributor in chronic low back pain.  The author suggests that screening for vitamin D deficiency in patients with chronic low back pain and treatment with supplements should be mandatory (1).

It is important to note that supplementing with Vitamin D is not right for everyone; people taking certain blood pressure medications and those with certain medical conditions should not take supplemental vitamin D. Please speak to your medical or chiropractic physician before deciding to take vitamin D.

Dr. Mexico is a Chiropractic physician and owner of Synaptic Chiropractic Center, which is a private practice with offices in Baldwinville, MA and Canton, OH. He can be reached at (978) 939-8700 or at drmexico@synapticchiro.com.

(1) Faraj SA, Mutairi KA. Vitamin D Deficiency and Chronic Low Back Pain in Saudi Arabia. Spine 2003; 28:177-179.

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