Did you know that vitamin D deficiency plays a role in chronic back pain, and that it’s well documented in the scientific literature?
Neither did I for a long time, but it’s true, and this short article shows you why.
About a decade ago, when I worked as personal trainer, I specialized in helping people with back pain.
I worked closely with chiropractors and osteopaths and helped some clients get great results.
Some, however, didn’t respond at all despite spending a lot of money on specialists, chiro/osteos and my own services.
These people usually felt better from their training, lost weight, developed muscle and so on, but couldn’t shift their back pain.
Back then I didn’t give any credence to the role of specific nutrient deficiencies or excess in chronic or sustained pain.
But I most certainly do these days.
Vitamin D and low back pain
Vitamin D deficiency is ultra-common. I rarely test someone who is not deficient in this important nutrient.
Even when people are taking vitamin D supplements in capsule or tablet form, they remain low in vitamin D because digestive function doesn’t allow for the vitamin D to be properly absorbed.
It’s a big problem, so I always use oral sprays or sublingual drops that absorb orally rather than needing to go via the gut.
Enter Dr. Alex Vasquez
Anyway, I first came across the concept of vitamin D deficiency playing a role in back pain via the work of Dr. Vasquez, who is a chiropractor, osteopath and naturopath.
He’s very good at what he does, and incredibly knowledgeable and experienced.
Writing about “idiopathic lower back pain”, which just means back pain with no known cause, Dr. V states that:
“The exemplary study by Al Faraj and Al Mutairi showed that among patients with ‘idiopathic chronic lower back pain’, 83% were vitamin D deficient and supplementation with 5,000-10,000iu/d cholecalciferol (vitamin D) for 3 months alleviated or cured the lower back pain in more than 95% of the patients.” (1)
I’m sure you’ll agree that back pain improvement in 95% of patients with a treatment consisting of only vitamin D is fairly impressive.
Indeed, the study conclusion included this sentence:
“Screening for vitamin D deficiency and treatment with supplements should be mandatory in this (low back pain) setting.”
Let’s not get too fanatical about vitamin D and low back pain
Of course, vitamin D deficiency is not the only reason for low back pain.
But if obvious avenues such as posture, abdominal strength, osteopathic and other contributing factors have been exhausted and ruled-out with no resolution of symptoms, then nutrition and nutritional status should be considered
With vitamin D, it’s not just about back pain. Vitamin D deficiency is also a documented risk factor for:
- Autoimmune disorders
- Mental illness
- Chronic pain
- Physical disability
I’ve seen some remarkable improvements in my clients using vitamin D drops in the dosage range of 2,000-8,000 units per day.
Given that the body can produce about 10,000 units of vitamin D with a day in the sun, the above supplement doses are safe as long as calcium levels are monitored (too much vitamin D can cause high blood calcium, which is not good).
Would you like some help?
Vitamin D is one of many nutrients that can become depleted. It’s a very important one, but the others are important as well!
In my experience, symptoms are usually the result of too much bad stuff being in the body, and not enough good stuff.
Nutrients are important components in the good stuff half of the equation and topping them up is incredibly important.
If you’re struggling with “unexplained” symptoms that won’t budge, we can help you find the bad stuff and get rid of it, and top up your good stuff, to boot.
A case review and initial consultation is a great starting point to begin uncovering the reasons for your symptoms.
Alternatively, a 10-15min ‘getting acquainted’ chat might be your preferred starting point.
You can learn about both by clicking here now.