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Chronic Pain Associated with Low Vitamin D Level

Chronic pain is associated with very low vitamin D levels.

Studies have shown that once vitamin D levels were returned to normal, the pain was reduced dramatically or even disappeared.


Background: Anecdotal reports from rheumatologists in the United Kingdom suggest that patients from South Asian backgrounds are more likely to report widespread body pain.

Objective: To confirm the presence of an excess of widespread pain, in South Asians, and to evaluate the relationship of their symptoms with levels of 25-OH vitamin D.

Methods: Two population studies involving over 3135 subjects were carried out in the North West and Midlands areas of England.

Results: The first study confirmed an excess of widespread pain, including fibromyalgia, among South Asians (OR = 1.6, 95% CI 1.3 to 2.1). The second smaller study conducted only among young women also showed a similar excess of widespread pain among South Asians (OR = 1.8, 95% CI 0.7 to 4.7) and found that low levels of 25-OH vitamin D (<10 ng/ml) were more common among those with widespread pain (OR = 3.5, 95% CI 0.4 to 31.0).

Conclusions: Owing to the small numbers, the relationship between 25-OH vitamin D and widespread pain must be considered preliminary and requires further investigation. However, it may be one potentially treatable cause of widespread pain.


G J Macfarlane, B Palmer, D Roy, C Afzal, A J Silman, and T O’Neill. An excess of widespread pain among South Asians: are low levels of vitamin D implicated? Ann Rheum Dis 2005; 64: 1217-1219. doi:10.1136/ard.2004.032656

Key concepts: Vitamin D, pain, fibromyalgia