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High risk of severe vitamin D deficiency in chronic pain patients

updated

Tags: chronic pain, vitamin D, muscle pain, etiology, treatment, nutrition, self-treatment, pain problems, muscle, pro

Two articles on PainSci cite Plotnikoff 2003: (1) The Complete Guide to Trigger Points & Myofascial Pain(2) Vitamin D for Pain

PainSci summary of Plotnikoff 2003: ?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible.

What is the prevalence of hypovitaminosis D in patients with nonspecific musculoskeletal pain syndrome? It’s quite striking, according to this important 2003 paper. Researchers did a cross-sectional study of 150 patients to find out and concluded (rather dramatically, emphasis mine) that “all patients with persistent, nonspecific musculoskeletal pain are at high risk for the consequences of unrecognized and untreated severe hypovitaminosis D. This risk extends to those considered at low risk for vitamin D deficiency: nonelderly, nonhousebound, or nonimmigrant persons of either sex.”

Even watered down, these results would be of considerable interest to pain patients.

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of hypovitaminosis D in primary care outpatients with persistent, nonspecific musculoskeletal pain syndromes refractory to standard therapies.

PATIENTS ANDMETHODS: In this cross-sectional study, 150 patients presented consecutively between February 2000 and June 2002 with persistent, nonspecific musculoskeletal pain to the Community University Health Care Center, a university-affiliated inner city primary care clinic in Minneapolis, Minn (45 degrees north). Immigrant (n = 83) and nonimmigrant (n = 67) persons of both sexes, aged 10 to 65 years, from 6 broad ethnic groups were screened for vitamin D status. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were determined by radioimmunoassay.

RESULTS: Of the African American, East African, Hispanic, and American Indian patients, 100% had deficient levels of vitamin D (< or = 20 ng/mL). Of all patients, 93% (140/ 150) had deficient levels of vitamin D (mean, 12.08 ng/mL; 95% confidence interval, 11.18-12.99 ng/mL). Nonimmigrants had vitamin D levels as deficient as immigrants (P = .48). Levels of vitamin D in men were as deficient as in women (P = .42). Of all patients, 28% (42/150) had severely deficient vitamin D levels (< or = 8 ng/mL), including 55% of whom were younger than 30 years. Five patients, 4 of whom were aged 35 years or younger, had vitamin D serum levels below the level of detection. The severity of deficiency was disproportionate by age for young women (P < .001), by sex for East African patients (P < .001), and by race for African American patients (P = .006). Season was not a significant factor in determining vitamin D serum levels (P = .06).

CONCLUSION: All patients with persistent, nonspecific musculoskeletal pain are at high risk for the consequences of unrecognized and untreated severe hypovitaminosis D. This risk extends to those considered at low risk for vitamin D deficiency: nonelderly, nonhousebound, or nonimmigrant persons of either sex. Nonimmigrant women of childbearing age with such pain appear to be at greatest risk for misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. Because osteomalacia is a known cause of persistent, nonspecific musculoskeletal pain, screening all outpatients with such pain for hypovitaminosis D should be standard practice in clinical care.

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