Have you missed work due to back pain? You're not alone, according to the American Chiropractic Association; back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed days of work. However, several studies suggest vitamin D can help combat the pain.
One such study, published in the journal Pain Treatment Topics, found people with chronic musculoskeletal back pain had insufficient levels of vitamin D. However, when patients increased their intake of vitamin D, their pain decreased, and in some cases disappeared.
Experts involved in this study say vitamin D may be beneficial for pain because of its role in calcium absorption. Insufficient vitamin D / calcium absorption may cause bones to soften, leading to a condition known as ostomalacia (not to be confused with osteoporosis). As the Mayo Clinic explains, "Osteomalacia results from a defect in the bone-building process, while osteoporosis develops due to a weakening of previously constructed bone." However, it's important to note that insufficiencies in vitamin D / calcium can contribute to both conditions.
Talk with your doctor for a recommendation on how much vitamin D you need to sustain healthy levels. Here are some suggestions on ways to increase vitamin D – supplements, healthy sun exposure (always wear sunblock) and vitamin D-rich foods. WebMD suggests these foods can help provide vitamin D:
- Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon
- Foods fortified with vitamin D, such as some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals
- Beef liver
- Egg yolks
For more information about the benefits of vitamin D, click here.