Vitamin D for Pain Management

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Vitamin D3 supplementation is an effective means of improving pain management, particularly the management of chronic widespread pain, a conditioned defined as a pain persisting for at least three months. Hypovitaminosis D, the clinical term for vitamin D deficiency, manifests a variety of painful symptoms that diminish the quality of life including musculoskeletal weakness, joint pain, lower back pain, depression, as well as circulatory, respiratory and neurological problems. In addition to contributing to the aforementioned diseases, vitamin D deficiency contributes to multiple inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and neuropathic pain like that caused by fibromyalgia. Adult rickets is the most severe form of hypovitaminosis D related pain. A comprehensive understanding of chronic pain etiology remains elusive Treating the condition and its plethora of symptoms is both a challenge and financial burden to the healthcare system.

The condition of chronic pain, vitamin D deficiency and vitamin D deficient induced chronic pain symptoms are all widespread. Globally an estimated 10%-55% of individuals are afflicted with chronic pain. Vitamin D deficiency is estimated to affect 25%-50% of the American population. Chronic pain sufferers with lower back pain have an estimated 83% prevalence of vitamin D deficiency. For these reasons it is recommended that all patients with chronic widespread or chronic lower back pain be tested for vitamin D deficiency.

Clinical analysis of hypovitaminosis D has been approached by studies with significant variance in their experimental parameters. This variability has caused some confusion in defining the disease. Blood serum levels between 5ng/ml and 20ng/ml have been used to qualify individuals for a vitamin D deficient state. Meta-analysis, the comprehensive review of multiple studies, has shed some light on therapeutic dosages and the treatment duration required for raising blood serum levels to levels necessary for bringing patients out of hypovitaminosis D. Two to three months has been established as a reliable timeline by which alleviation can be expected if vitamin D3 supplementation is prescribed. During this timeline, blood serum vitamin D levels can expect to be tripled or quadrupled to quantities ranging from 36ng/ml to 46ng/ml. This rise in blood serum vitamin D levels provides a reduction in musculoskeletal pain symptoms, decreases chronic pain associated depression and increases the quality of life substantially. Additionally, a study of fibromyalgia patients showed that vitamin D3 supplementation reduced the number of patients suffering from the disease from 30 down to 20 after three months of treatment. Analysis of multiple studies showed that 53% to 63% of those treated achieved a demonstrable level of pain relief from vitamin D3 supplementation alone.

Vitamin D3 supplementation achieves its therapeutic effects by increasing muscle strength while concomitantly reducing inflammation and providing a regulatory influence on the immune system. Vitamin D3 supplementation also increases bone density and enhances muscle mass which can act as preventative influences on future bouts of pain. Vitamin D deficiency is also associated with heightened central sensitivity, a nervous system syndrome that contributes to the development and amplification of the severity of chronic pain. Increased central sensitivity enhances a person’s sensitivity to pain. Vitamin D3 can attenuate this sensitivity favorably by reducing the excitability of neurons involved in the pain response.

Ortho D is a prescription option for vitamin D supplementation among patients suffering from hypovitaminosis D. A rational consideration for using prescription vitamin D rather than over-the-counter supplements lies in the fact that prescribed medications are manufactured under FDA regulation whereas over-the-counter vitamin manufacturing facilities are not inspected by the FDA for adherence to cGLP and cGMP standards. For patients suffering chronic widespread pain or chronic pain emanating from a serious disease the prescription option provides, if nothing more, peace of mind in knowing that the therapeutic ingested is exactly what it claims to be.

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