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Living with Chronic Back Pain? Check Your Vitamin D Level

January 19, 2011 by  

Living with Chronic Back Pain? Check Your Vitamin D Level

I have found that many of my patients who suffer from chronic back pain (caused by strains, osteoarthritis or herniated disc, for example) have a deficiency of vitamin D.

We don’t often associate a deficiency of this vitamin with lower back pain, but it makes sense. Low vitamin D can cause the painful condition known as osteomalacia, the softening of bone. It also can interfere with normal muscle development, and you need healthy muscles to hold in place the 32 bones that make up the spinal column.

Several studies in the last few years have shown that low vitamin D levels can exacerbate back pain. In one study, American and Italian doctors found that a lack of vitamin D doubled the risk for chronic back pain (the cause was not specified) in older women, but not in men. That’s not entirely surprising because women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with osteomalacia.

In another report, published in Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, a doctor described six patients who had experienced severe and sometimes disabling back pain, including two who had back surgery that failed to resolve their pain. All of the patients improved after taking 1,000 international units (IU) to 5,000 IU of vitamin D daily for at least three to six weeks. One patient had a recurrence of back pain after he stopped taking vitamin D but found relief when he resumed supplementation.

My Advice: Three of every four Americans do not get enough of this important nutrient, so make sure that your physician checks your vitamin D level. I routinely measure my patients’ levels of vitamin D — and, on average, I recommend that patients take at least 2,000 IU daily. This supplementation usually reduces back pain.

For access to four of my FREE cutting edge natural health videos on topics such as energy, weight loss, digestive health and brain health Click Here.

–Mark Stengler, N.M.D.

Jeffrey R. Matthews

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  • bob wire

    hmm? ~ vitamin D ,2000 iu daily ~ I’d try it!

    at 62 , my pain inventory is beginning to get “rather large” ~

    and I just hate to talk about it! ~ and seems the whole world is trying to get it out of us. ~

    Oh Babe!, I really don’t want to go horse back riding with your friend!

    I haven’t the time ~ I need to stay home and a ~ a uhg ~ cut down a tree!

    If you ever tell anyone that your back hurts ~ they will tell you, ~their does too! ~ and you will have to listen to them talk about their back problems. It’s insane! ~~ %^^%*(00!!

    If their back hurt the way mine did ~ they would shut to fock up about it!

    I now passed a lot of the serious pain, it took several years to heal up~ I’m now into pain management.

    I’ll try the D’s and thanks for the heads up!

    • Mike In MI

      Bob Wire –

      Along with that start taking a sauna, steam bath or Hot soak in an environment that is able to get your core body temperature up so that all your ores are open and dumping toxins for at least 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour in 20 minute increments. Do it once or twice a week at first until your body gets cleaned out some.
      Toxins are among the most prevalent causes of pain emanating from the back, buttocks and legs. Also, start using milk thistle capsules, one or two per week, to get your liver working to properly process the stuff.

      • bob wire

        Thanks Mike, ~ I knew hot baths help, I just assumed it was limbering and soothing.

        I’m carrying a gall stone too large to pass for a little over a year now and have been using milk thistle, apple vinegar and baking soda.

        So thanks for your input ~ it helps to know such things and WHY!

  • Christine Webb

    Thankyou, for your newsletter about weight loss. I will incorporate your recommendations and give it a shot. I’ve watched you on Know the Cause. I appreciate all that you do to help us navigate away from conventional medicine. Thankyou so much.

  • Bruce D.

    I have been hanging upside down for over 30 years now for a few minutes and just a few times a week or when I lift something heavy. I have two disks missing in my back and at one time the chiroprator separated the bones when I was young. Hanging upside down keeps the bones separated and pressure off the whole back. Now they have reclining tables but I started with the boots and I am not interested in the tables although they are probably better. I have done a lot of heavy lifting over that time period. It is important to do the maintenance when your back does not hurt. It keeps the muscles and the nerves from becoming inflamed. If they become too inflamed it takes a period of healing. Chiropractors and doctors can help but for general health of the backbone hanging upside down and probably nutrients are your best bet for health. My backbone is also curved somewhat. The boots were the key to doing pretty much anything I wanted to over the years with few exceptions.

    • Mike In MI

      Bruce D.
      You are an incredibly wise man, Bruce. Do it when it doesn’t hurt.

      If the people of this country would observe this in other areas too we would have NO HEALTH CRISIS to have to deal with.

  • http://bevnsteve@comcast.net Steve A

    “Vitamin D” This is the answer. I have taken calcium with “D” since I was 17 years old. (Now into my 60′s) I injured my back and 3 specialist wanted to fuse my back. At 17.I went to a doctor that gave me a handful of calcium to take and said empty the bottle in the next 2 days. I did. Two days later my back didn’t hurt. Every time I forget to take my calcium with “D” the pain returns within a few days. I have told others and they have had the same results as myself. I always thought it was the calcium. Maybe a little but maybe the “D”. I take 1000 to 1500 iu daily of calcium with “D”. I have an active life now, even over 60.

  • Carlucci

    I take 5000 IUs of Vitamin D3 every day as I heard that was the best dosage from Dr. Cannell, who advertises on Christian radio. Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3thFlu0-ws

    I also go out and get some sunshine for at least 10 to 20 minutes when weather permits (lately it has been cold and rainy where I live).

    You might be surprised – a little sunshine can add a whole lot of happiness to your day.

  • http://bellsouth.net marcy

    I take 10,000U vit D daily and 4000mg of calcium daily.

    I also go out into the sun, I live in sunny Florida.

    My animals 3 cats and 2 dogs like to spend a 1/2 hour
    out in the sun daily. Animals are so smart. They know
    what we need naturally.

    I am 68 y/o have osteopenia and work 32 hours a week.
    I plan on still going as long as I can. I have pain, but,
    it is at a minimum. I take 500mg of Tylenol daily and 500mg
    of Robaxin daily.

  • American Conserative

    For someone, whose age is knocking at the interstate speed limit, with lower back pain – I suggest that one might consider Vitamin D3 at the 5-10,000 unit level daily.

  • bob wire

    well can you over doe on D?

    • KowKow

      You could, but you’d have to take 100,000 IU of vit D to overdose. Meaning you’d have to intentionally ingest 20 softgels of 5000 IU’s in a day to get to that level. Most sane people would NOT do that.

  • Jean Geary

    I had a hip replacement 5 years ago which was successful but about a year afterwards my balance became extremely bad. I can’t function without a cane (and a walker when I’m outdoors.) Is this the usual following hip surgery? I’m just now starting to experience pain and feel that it’s in the muscles din thee lower back. What can be done for this?

    By the way, I would welcome a naturopath in my town but one is not to be had.

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