Alleviating Musculoskeletal Pain

musc-skelLow levels of vitamin D are associated with persistent, non-specific musculoskeletal pain, according to investigators at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Researchers conducted a cross-sectional study of 150 patients, aged 10-65, who presented to a primary care clinic over the course of two years with the complaint of persistent, non-specific musculoskeletal pain. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were analyzed to assess vitamin D status.

Ninety-three percent of the patients demonstrated deficient levels of vitamin D, and 28% were considered severely deficient. Five patients had vitamin D levels that were too low to detect. Particularly severe vitamin D deficiency was noted in young women, East African patients, and African-Americans.

The research team concluded that all patients-regardless of gender or age-with chronic, non-specific musculoskeletal pain are at high risk of suffering from unrecognized vitamin D deficiency. Since osteomalacia is a known cause of chronic, generalized pain, doctors should screen all patients with such symptoms for vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D expert Dr. Michael Holick of Boston University has expressed a similar view, noting that vitamin D deficiency is often misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia.

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