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Can Vitamin D help with back pain?

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

What is Vitamin D and why is it important? Vitamin D is crucial for bone health. It is produced by our bodies naturally when we have sunlight directly on our skin (specifically UVB rays) and it is used to absorb important nutrients such as calcium and phosphate from our diet. Studies, however have shown that after the summer 67% of people will still have a deficiency and after the winter this figure rises to 87% in the Northern Hemisphere. Vitamin D can be found in some foods naturally; primarily oily fish, eggs and red meat and this can pose a challenge to people who don’t eat these foods but it is never enough to meet the daily needs in those that do. The department for health recommends most people in the UK take a daily Vitamin D supplement of 10 micrograms per day in the winter months (NHS, 2021) but for those that are mildly deficient it is recommended to take at least 125 micrograms (5,000 International Units) per day.



What does the research say?


A study published in the International Journal of Rheumatic Disease looked at the efficacy of Vitamin D replacement therapy on patients with chronic nonspecific widespread musculoskeletal pain including Fibromyalgia in Vitamin D deficiency. It gave the patient a daily supplement of Vitamin D3 at 7,000 I.U. for 3 months and found a staggering 47% reduction in pain, a 35% reduction in depression and a 77% increase in Vitality. This exceeded many drug trial results.

A study done in 2021 by Ali et al. in to the effect of Vitamin D3 and physiotherapy found that participants who received vitamin D3 supplementation in addition to physiotherapy had a statistically significant reduction of pain severity when compared to those treated with physiotherapy alone. The study suggested that patients with low back pain, shoulder and knee pain equally benefited from vitamin D supplementation along with physiotherapy.

There is a growing body of evidence for the use of vitamin d supplementation combined with physical therapies for the management of chronic pain. There are other well documented benefits from vitamin D suppleme


ntation such as improved cognitive function in adults.


What do we recommend? In line with guidance from the department of health, we at Orchard Chiropractic Centre support the use of vitamin D supplementation for bone health, especially over the winter months and would adopt a Functional Medicine recommendation of 5,000 I.U. daily, with at least a further 2,000 I.U. if obese. For musculoskeletal pain, the evidence suggests vitamin D suppl


ements can compliment physical and manual therapies, so we suggest using them together, try not to rely just on supplements to resolve your pain. (Always take supplements as instructed – taking too much can be dangerous and DO NOT use supplements instead of prescribed medication. If you have questions please talk to Charles Robottom)



References and links • NHS,. 2021. How to get Vitamin D from sunlight. NHS

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/how-to-get-vitamin-d-from-sunlight/

• The Efficacy of Vitamin D replacement Therapy on patient wit chronic nonspecific widespread musculoskeletal pain including Fibromyalgia in Vitamin D deficiency” International Journal of Rheumatic Disease.

• Ali. M., Uddin. Z. And Hossain. A., 2021. Combined Effect of Vitamin D


Supplementation and Physiotherapy on Reducing Pain Among Adult Patients With Musculoskeletal Disorders: A Quasi-experimental Clinical Trial. Frontiers in Nutrition (online),8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8523800/


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