I was chatting with a physio friend about a case study. Julie, (not her real name) had life-sapping 9/10 back pain. She had a slight curve in her spine, but nothing significant and had tried everything, anti-inflammatories, pain meds, therapy, exercise… nothing worked. Doc did the blood work and found her D levels were lowish (22ng/ml) so prescribed a supplement for 6 weeks. Pain backed off 80%. A year later she returned to the doctor with her pain slowly returning. She had stopped her maintenance dose and was now D deficient (14ng/ml). Her doc managed her levels up over 3 weeks and the pain backed off again.
Vitamin D deficiency has been long associated with an increased risk of various cancers, autoimmune diseases and even heart disease. It is only more recently that scientists have seen promising evidence of correcting D levels to manage muscle pain. If this is true, so many people can improve their quality of life. The facts are that 24% of Australians are D deficient (£20ng/ml). That doesn’t even include people in the insufficient range (20 to 30 ng/ml). It’s a pandemic! The reason is that we get our D mainly from the sun and specifically UVB which is most abundant between 10 am and 2 pm. When was the last time you were out in your togs without sunscreen between 10 and 2? Even our athletes are at risk.
You can get some D from food (up to 20%) in salmon, mushrooms, egg yolks, some cereals milk etc. but the sun is essential. The moral is if you suffer from ongoing muscle pain, get your levels checked. The easiest way is through your doctor so they can also manage your supplements if needed. Home testing kits are also available to keep an eye on levels and there are recommendation tools to get levels right on the net. Remember always do your own research and work with your health care crew.
The reality is there are around 30 thousand genes in the body. Three thousand of those require Vitamin D to function optimally. Muscle function and repair is just one of those processes. If over 30% of people are low, (below 30 ng/ml) your health could improve and your pain could ease. Worth checking.
Yours toward keeping your quality of life,
Cai C. Treating Vitamin D Deficiency and Insufficiency in Chronic Neck and Back Pain and Muscle Spasm: A Case Series. Perm J. 2019;23:18-241.
Helde-Frankling M, Björkhem-Bergman L. Vitamin D in Pain Management. Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Oct 18;18(10):2170.
Pike, John & Meyer, Mark. (2013). Fundamentals of vitamin D hormone-regulated gene expression. The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology. 144. 10.1016