Lack of vitamin D may not be associated with back pain, study finds

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Scientists have studied the link between back pain and vitamin D. Westend61/Getty Images
  • Back pain is considered the leading cause of disability worldwide.
  • Previous studies have linked a vitamin D deficiency to back pain.
  • A new study by researchers at the University of Heidelberg in Germany says there is no correlation between vitamin D deficiency and back pain.

Researchers estimate that approx 619 million people around the world they live with back pain.

This condition is also considered the main cause of disability around the world.

There are several reasons why a person may experience back pain, including strained or injured muscles, damage to the spine, or underlying conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis.

Depending on the situation, a person’s lower back pain may be treated with a combination of medications, physical therapy, and/or surgery.

Previous research shows between 5%-10% of back pain becomes chronic low back pain lasting more than 12 weeks and 50% of people treated for back pain have recurrent episodes within a year.

Previous studies have related a deficiency in vitamin D for back pain as this hormone is essential for healthy bones and to regulate inflammation. Also, signs of vitamin D deficiency include pain in the bones, joints, and muscles.

Now, researchers at the University of Heidelberg in Germany report that the opposite is true, saying that there is no correlation between vitamin D deficiency and back pain.

The study was recently published in the journal nutrients.

For this study, the researchers analyzed information from the UK Biobank. They used data from 135,934 participants between the ages of 40 and 69.

For this study, researchers analyzed data from the UK Biobank on more than 500,000 people. All study participants were between 40 and 69 years old.

The scientists had access to all participants’ vitamin D information, including their levels and whether or not they were taking a vitamin D supplement or multivitamin. They also collected information on any diagnosis of low back pain.

The scientists reported that about 21.6% of all study participants were vitamin D deficient, and about 4% regularly took a vitamin D supplement.

About 3.8% of study participants reported low back pain in the month before starting the study. Another 3.3% were diagnosed with low back pain for the first time during a mean follow-up time of 8.5 years.

After analysis, the researchers found that vitamin D deficiency and vitamin D supplements were not associated with back pain. They believe this is partially due to the multifactorial nature of back pain.

Previous studies examining a potential link between vitamin D deficiency and back pain have been mixed.

A study published in July 2018 found that the lower back pain severity increased in people with vitamin D deficiency, while another study published in January 2019 reported that treatment of vitamin D deficiency can improve back pain in overweight or obese people.

Another study published in August 2019 found that vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency can cause or worsen neck and back pain.

Research published in February 2021 indicated a high probability of vitamin D deficiency in the nonspecific chronic low back pain population and also found a negative correlation between vitamin D status and pain severity.

However, there have been other studies that report no relationship between vitamin D and back pain.

A study published in December 2020 concluded that there was no relationship between chronic low back pain and vitamin D levels, and research published in March 2018 reported that vitamin D supplementation was no more effective than placebo, no intervention, or other conservative/pharmacologic interventions for back pain.

After reviewing this study, said Dr. Medhat Mikhael, a pain management specialist and medical director of the nonoperative program at the Spine Health Center at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, CA. Today’s Medical News he was not surprised by his findings.

Treating patients with chronic back or low back pain for a long time, we really didn’t find any link to show that patients with vitamin D supplements prevented back pain, Dr. Mikhael explained. We have many patients who take vitamin D supplements but have chronic back pain.

The case is somewhat different for people who are in their advanced age or who are in menopause and have (a) higher risk of osteoporosis and compression fracture and then have low vitamin D levels, he continued.

This is where we ask you to take the supplement to get proper mineralization of your bone and keep it healthy. But low vitamin D or supplemental vitamin D did not prevent the development of back pain, he said.

For future research in this area, Dr. Mikhael said he would like to see if people who are premenopausal or have a genetic predisposition to bone loss would be helped if they were treated with vitamin D early on.

I want (I want) to see if these patients (who) have been treated preventively or early adequately for any vitamin D deficiency if they can prevent the progress of bone loss and prevent the development of total osteoporosis and have a high risk of compression fractures. , added.

Dr. Dante Implicito, chief of the department of Orthopedic Surgery and chief of Orthopedic Spine Surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, offered similar comments after reviewing this research.

As is the case with the vast majority of vitamins and supplements, there is no underlying proven connection for the diseases they are heavily marketed as treating, said Dr. implicit MNT. This is the essence of the difference between the FDA’s strict drug safety and efficacy process and nutritional supplements which are evaluated as foods and not arbitrated at all regarding their medicinal or therapeutic claims.

Back pain is ubiquitous. About 90% of humans will experience back pain in their lifetime. The symptom of back pain is seen in a large multitude of conditions such as muscle strains, muscle deconditioning, cancer, disc injuries, arthritis, kidney stones, endometriosis, stress, etc. the list goes on and on.
Dr. Implicit Dante

Dr. Implicito said that many varied factors are important in making these true underlying diagnoses, and that the presence of back pain is only one consideration.

Vitamin D is known to play an important role in bone health and is particularly important in the treatment of osteopenia and osteoporosis, he added. It has not, to my knowledge, been shown to be truly anti-inflammatory by any peer-reviewed scientific journal.

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