26 June 2008

Study: Vitamin D eases Chronic Back Pain

There are days when I've such pain in my back that I struggle to get out of bed in the morning. On those days, there's no point trying to do anything beyond lie prone for the next 24 hours.

Then, with my mobility somewhat recovered, the following few days I'm able to sit at this computer, go for daily walks, grocery shop, sweep the floors, clean out the kitty litter, and feed and water myself and the cats.

Then the cycle starts all over again.

Over the past two years, the cycle has been tightening; so that now, it has become one day off and four to five days OK. Previously, I might have gone as long as a month without much pain.

So I was happy to read this report of an easy and inexpensive way of possibly relieving some of the pain.

In an analysis of 22 clinical trials of people with chronic back pain, Dr. Stewart B. Leavitt, editor of Pain Treatment Topics, found that in any given study, between 48 per cent and 100 per cent of subjects with back pain had insufficient levels of vitamin D....

In one study of about 150 subjects, 93 per cent of patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain were vitamin D deficient. More than one quarter of the subjects had a severe deficiency, defined as less than 8 nanograms per millilitre.

In another study of about 360 subjects, a three-month course of vitamin D supplementation improved back-pain symptoms in 95 per cent of patients. In fact, 100 per cent of that study's subjects who had a severe deficiency of the vitamin got relief from their pain...

While reviewing the vitamin D research, Leavitt also found that the current recommended daily intake of vitamin D ... should be increased to 1,000 IU per day, and to 2,000 IU or more for people with chronic back pain.

Today is one of my OK days, so I'm off to the store to get some Vitamin D.

Here's the full, original report (PDF).

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