While it can’t be claimed that taking vitamin D alone will help chronic pain, it is true that many people who experience non-specific musculoskeletal pain are deficient in vitamin D. For these people, supplementing with vitamin D to raise the level in their blood may lessen the amount and lower the intensity of their pain.
During the past 10 years, many researchers have noted that extremely low vitamin D levels correlate with chronic, general pain. Every tissue in our bodies has vitamin D receptors, including all muscles, immune cells, bones and brain cells. Vitamin D, then, is a vitally important hormone in our bodies.
A blood level of 30-40ng/mL is considered normal. The average vitamin D blood level can be as low as 12, and some are so low as to be undetectable. People with inadequate vitamin D blood levels will need to take twice as much narcotic pain medication as those with adequate vitamin D for pain relief. So, while vitamin D does not cure chronic pain, it is an important adjuvant therapy to use in pain treatment management.
Research studies on vitamin D have shown that many types of fatigue and chronic pain are linked to vitamin D deficiency, including chronic musculoskeletal pain, fibromyalgia syndrome, osteoarthritis, migraine headaches, rheumatic pain and hyperesthesia. For patients who do not respond to other therapy, vitamin D supplementation is recommended to alleviate or perhaps even resolve chronic fatigue and pain issues. Vitamin D therapy has the added benefits of being inexpensive, easy for patients to take and well-tolerated.
People with chronic musculoskeletal pain and vitamin D deficiencies are likely to gain a great deal of relief with vitamin D supplementation. Patients should have their doctor check their vitamin D level before beginning supplementation. Since many Americans have low vitamin D blood levels, it is likely that people with chronic pain have low to undetectable levels of vitamin D in their blood. People with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and those suffering with migraine headaches are good candidates for vitamin D supplementation to help with the pain.
Most doctors agree that patients should take 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily to relieve pain. Be aware that the therapy must be continued for a few months before relief kicks in. Most likely, patients won’t experience complete relief of pain, but they will experience a range of improvement from reduced pain intensity, to partial pain relief, to less frequent pain.
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Shaw, Gina; Chronic Pain: Does Vitamin D Help? WebMD; accessed November 11, 2013
Richards, Karen Lee; Vitamin D for Chronic Pain; Health Central; accessed November 11, 2013
Anderson, Bryan; Mayo Clinic Researchers Link Vitamin D and Chronic Pain Relief; Mayo Clinic NewsBlog; accessed November 11, 2013
Majumdar, Mita; Vitamin D: A Possible Solution to Chronic Pain; MD India; accessed November 11, 2013
Leavitt, S.B.; Vitamin D Relieves Musculoskeletal Pain in Randomized Clinical Trials; Pain Topics; accessed November 11, 2013