Q. I’ve had extreme chronic pain in my lower back, pelvis, hips and legs for nearly four years. Lying flat was agony so I had to sleep propped up on a love seat.

I went to many doctors who said there was nothing wrong with me. Then I found a rheumatologist who checked my vitamin D and found it was extremely low.

I’ve been taking 1,600 IUs of vitamin D a day and have been feeling much better and happier. At this rate I think I’ll be about back to normal in six months. It’s terrible that anyone should suffer for so long from this. If in doubt, get your vitamin D checked!

A. Vitamin D deficiency is common and is often underestimated as a cause of chronic pain. Low levels of this vitamin can contribute to arthritis, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and high blood pressure. In a high-tech society where most people work indoors and wear sunscreen whenever they are outside, vitamin D insufficiency may be far more common than most doctors suspect.

We discussed this topic in depth on our radio show with two of the country’s leading vitamin D experts, James Dowd, MD, and Michael Holick, PhD, MD. They provide a detailed discussion of testing and treating vitamin D deficiency.

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  1. kc
    Reply

    Try going to an acupuncture person who does trigger point therapy. extremely small needles to break through the scar tissue to allow it to be more pliable. A Pain clinic will also offer this. Injecting with steroid may help but will be temporary and needed again. There is a limit to how many steroid injections you can get. Also look up Prolotherapy.

  2. p prasuna
    Reply

    I am 28 years old, suffering severe leg pain.previously I also suffered with chickengunea but its clear now. still continuously pain my leg. plz suggest how can I reduce my pain? previously doctor said that control my weight.

  3. CD
    Reply

    A bone mineral density test is necessary if you have vitamin D deficiency, since calcium could have resorbed from your bones over the years and you might be suffering from osteopenia or even osteoporosis which is causing the bone pain.
    Scientifically speaking, low vitamin D > less calcium and magnesium absorption from diet > low levels in blood > parathyroid hormone (PTH) resorbs calcium stored in bones to maintain a constant level in blood. This is one hypothesis.
    I think vitamin D supplementation alone without calcium and magnesium is not good because very high vitamin D levels could even cause calcium resorption from bones. It is all about homoeostasis.
    I am 30/male at the edge of osteoporosis! Do a bone mineral density test to check your bone status. Ask your doctor before taking any supplementation.
    Get well.

  4. Kulvinder
    Reply

    Almost for 2 years I’m having legs pain and sever burning pain in feet and pain In fingers and toes. I can’t sleep at night. Going to see neurologist if there is any nerve pinched. B6 & 12 are fine. Any suggestion… after work I just sit after dinner and go to bed cause this pain is really bad and can’t stand it. I’m not diabetic no cholesterol but I do have hypertension. Please help….

  5. Ba
    Reply

    Burning and shooting pain from thigh to knee for several months. Dr. Has had me on Ibuprofen for the past few months. When pushing on side of hip area very painful. X-rays show nothing abnormal. Some nights I wake up with burning pain in my thigh area. Bloodwork shoes vitamin d level 18 so I have been put on one pill a week for a month with follow-up bloodwork when finished with pills. Strength is 1.25 mg (50,000 units). Doing my second pill today. Hoping for results to relieve the pain.

  6. Marie
    Reply

    Hi I just want to know have anyone vitamin D deficiency caused Breast pain like I have along with bone pain all over my body.

  7. Brianna Morr.
    Reply

    At school, I’ve been hanging out in the classroom too long. That included breaks such as lunch and recess. Now I feel the pain you’ve been experiencing, it’s not a good feeling.
    I went to several doctors and the said the same thing over and over again. 1. Go outside because the sun-light strengthens your bones. 2. Drink plenty of milk to also help strengthen your bones. 3. Eat vitamin d tablets. If you realize that the doctors were actually hitting the main target. You must get more vitamin d.
    I started to notice it actually helped quite a lot in a while. Hope this advice will work for you as it works for me. :)
    Toodles,
    Brianna

  8. MN
    Reply

    @Soren
    Look into taurine supplementation for your wife’s fatty liver. You’ll be surprised to find that even though it’s only a nutrient, it can treat fatty liver very effectively and it’s also helpful for diabetes.
    There are no recorded side effects to taurine, but ask your doctor about it just to be sure. :) For me, taurine has been a miracle supplement for my spasms and body aches.
    Peoples Pharmacy response: here is an abstract with some information on this amino acid:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21957160
    Re: Vitamin D deficiency
    Anyone who has a hard time getting their Vitamin D levels to stay up should look into the following considerations:
    – Vitamin D is integral to calcium homeostasis (balance of calcium in your bones vs. free calcium in your blood and tissues) so it has a very complicated interaction with other things.
    – You need to have adequate magnesium (the vast majority of people are deficient!) so MILD supplementation of magnesium should be helpful. Speak with your doctor about this, it’s not easy to gauge! Vitamin D deficiency can cause magnesium deficiency, and magnesium deficiency can cause Vitamin D deficiency.
    – Magnesium deficiency is also associated with potassium deficiency. Boosting my magnesium a little bit (I take a mild dose of 200mg magnesium citrate daily, rest comes from diet) presumably helped my potassium levels even though I did not take additional potassium.
    Note: Don’t over-supplement magnesium! Many antacids give you a high dose of magnesium, for example. Check with your doctor!
    – Calcium is needed, but nowhere near what most people think. Most people think you need 2x calcium compared to magnesium, but this is WRONG (look it up by searching for calcium-magnesium ratio). It’s probably best NOT to supplement calcium, as it causes issues. It’s best to get it from diet.
    – Dietary magnesium should be separated from calcium – consume them at different times, as they compete for absorption in the gut!
    – Vitamin K2 is also required for Vitamin D metabolism and calcium homeostasis. K2 reverses soft tissue and vascular calcification as well as its role in clotting. This is not the same as K1 (found in leafy green vegetables). K2 is found in meats like poultry and special foods like Natto. Look up food sources of K2 to find something appropriate for you!
    – Vitamin D is fat soluble, so take it with a slightly fatty meal to help absorb it, like chicken or cheese.
    – Taurine enhances absorption of Vitamin D, magnesium, and calcium, as well as fats. This is a simple nutrient that most people don’t get enough of. Ask your doctor about supplementing!
    I hope this helps!

  9. Princy John
    Reply

    I’m 30 years old and I’m a homemaker for last 2 year I was suffering from lower back and leg pain sometimes it become so difficult that I can’t even sit on the bed but last 3 weeks before I came to know that my vit d level is only 3 and I m taking vit-d 1000 iu capsule daily but still I cannot sleep due to pain in my leg I don’t feel backache when ever I take a high dose of pain killers but after taking pain killers still I cannot sleep well due to pain in my legs can u suggest what to do.

  10. CC
    Reply

    I’m 37 years old had spinal surgery 2 years ago. Was feeling great then had my son now a year later my hip and lower calf hurt so bad I cannot lay down but when I stand it is bearable. I’m am now on norco 10mg and 800 ibuprofen from my pain management doctor. I was googling leg pain and found this site I remember about a year ago after my son was born I had blood work done and in very low in vitamin D so I found my pills and am beginning to take them. I’m hoping that this will work I’m tired of pain pills and pain. I was prescribed 950 calcium citrate 2x a day.

  11. Regina
    Reply

    I’m in the same boat. Just went back to the Dr today for follow up blood work. I’m praying they are able to tell me something!

  12. SJR
    Reply

    I would give it more than just 3 – 4 weeks. It may take 6 before she starts feeling better, since she was so low to begin with. It amazes me that she went from 55 to 16 in just 4 months. Mine went from 52 to 36 in 8 months after taking 12 weeks of the 50,000 IU, and not adding any more after the 12 week period besides what I had been taking before they discovered I was deficient. I have to take at least 3200 IU a day to keep my levels between 38 – 45. And I try to get sunshine everyday when it is available.
    My body does not absorb or retain it well for some reason. I have pernicious anemia so I have to take B12 sublingually every day too. I think maybe that is why I have a hard time keeping my Vit D levels up. Anyway if your wife does not start to feel better in the next couple of weeks, or gets worse, I would request they check her Vit B12 levels also. Good luck to her. Hope she feels better soon!

  13. Søren W. L.
    Reply

    Greetings from Denmark. My wife is in dire straits. Type 1 diabetes, very slim, not very tall. Also, she has a fatty liver – non-alcoholic. She went through a liver biopsy in September 2012. Everything OK. She was not feeling well before the biopsy but the months after the biopsy has been a true night mare.
    In September her vitamin d-levels was measured to 55 but in January it was down to 16 due to stomach problems. For about three months my wife could eat anything else than mashed potatoes and rusks.
    Massive vitamin d treatment was started 3-4 weeks ago, but what is very discouraging is that things are getting worse – or at least not better. Does that make sense? Is the lesson to be learned that it has to get worse before it gets any better? Right now it is as if the pain “travels” downwards. Right now her feet hurt. Do you think we can expect things to get better after say 5 or 6 weeks?
    All best
    Søren

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