ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Vitamin D and Unexplained Pain

Updated on October 12, 2015

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain affects 9% to 20% of American adults, according to the Mayo Clinic, and total estimated costs of it are around $50 billion annually. Chronic pain has been the focus of many research studies and much of chronic pain experienced has no known cause. Research has shown that vitamin D may be a missing piece of the puzzle.

Sunbathing for a 1/2 hour a day significantly boosts vitamin d stores.
Sunbathing for a 1/2 hour a day significantly boosts vitamin d stores. | Source

Vitamin D Facts

Vitamin D receptors are present in many different tissues throughout the body. In many ways, it acts more like a hormone than a vitamin. Hormones are like the mail system of the body. When messages aren't sent or get lost, the body does not function the way it should.

Vitamin D has been linked to many conditions including cardiovascular disease, muscle weakness and diabetes, all of which can manifest in the body as some sort of pain or discomfort.

According to a study done by Forrest et al. in 2011, the overall prevalence rate of Vitamin D deficiency in the United States is 41.6%. In other words, 4/10 people in the US can be experiencing chronic pain due to decreased vitamin D.


What's the connection?

In a study done by Plotnikoff et al., over 90% of patients with “non specific musculoskeletal pain” directly correlated with a decrease in vitamin D levels. Vitamin D helps the bones to form properly and aids in the absorption of calcium, also needed for bone growth.

Vitamin D helps to regulate the inflammatory cascade, our body's defense mechanism for protection against invading organisms. When the inflammatory cascade is left unchecked, it can lead to wide-spread inflammation. Systemic inflammation is associated with conditions such as fibromyalgia and autoimmune dysfunction; symptoms of which include pain.

In a 2007 study, Mytoon and his colleagues stated that a vitamin d deficiency should be considered in anyone with chronic musculoskeletal pain. A deficiency can be detected through a simple blood test and can save someone time and aggravation ruling out other pathologies.

Sources of Vitamin D

Healthy doses of vitamin D are best received through sunlight. Since blood levels of vitamin D plateau after about 15-30 minutes of sun exposure, there has been no report of vitamin D intoxication through this method. The problem is, due to the very real risk of skin cancer, many of us lather up with sun screen before leaving the house. While this is an understandable practice, it does not allow for a good amount of vitamin D to be absorbed through the skin.

It has been suggested that people bring sun screen with them when they are planning to be outside, wait about 20 minutes and then put sun screen on. This way, you are limiting exposure to harmful UV rays without compromising on the vitamin D.

Unfortunately, for those living in regions where sun is limited, it can be difficult to get the proper amount of vitamin D through the sun. There are also a few foods which have naturally occurring of vitamin D, including Herring, Eel and Salmon.

Adequate dosing of Vitamin D can also be achieved through supplementation. Vitamin D is what they call fat-soluble. This means the body stores extra vitamin D in fat cells so toxicity is a possibility. If you decide to supplement, be sure to do so under the care of a licensed health care professional, to avoid harmful side effects.

Chronic pain sufferers know the hopeless feeling of thinking the pain will never go away. While vitamin D may not be the answer to all your chronic pain, it may help just enough to give hope that there's more that can be done.

Getting on a healthy path can be difficult and it takes baby steps. Ensuring adequate levels of vitamin D is a baby step that can turn into a giant leap. It is worth a try. Ask to your health care professional for more information.

In good health!


1-“ Mayo Clinic Proceedings”.; Prevalence of Severe Hypovitaminosis D in Patients with Persistent, Nonspecific Musculoskeletal Pain; Plotnikoff, G.A et al.; 2003

2-“Pain”; Vitamin D and Chronic Pain; Straube, S. et al.; January 2009

3- “Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries, 2nd edition”; Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions for Musculoskeletal Conditions; Connelly, L.B. et al,; 2006.

4- “Journal of the American Geriatric Society”; Associations between Vitamin D Status and Pain in Older Adults: The Invecchiare in Chianti Study; Hicks et al.; May, 2008.

5- “British Journal of General Practice”; Vitamin D deficiency in multicultural primary care: a case series of 299 patients; Mytoon, J. et al.; July, 2007

6- “Pain”; Vitamin D and chronic pain; Straube et al.; November 2009.

7- “British Journal of Nutrition”; Vitamin D in preventive medicine: are we ignoring the evidence?; Zittermann, A.; 2003.

8.”Nutrition Research”; Prevalence and correlates of vitamin D deficiency in US adults; Forrest, K.Y. et al.; January, 2011.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • HealthGuru1248 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thank you for commenting Lipnancy! You are absolutely right. Researchers are finding more and more on vitamin d and its benefits to our health.

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 

      6 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      We are only just beginning to understand the importance of Vitamin D. I helps with so many health issues.

    • HealthGuru1248 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thank you! I absolutely agree.

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 

      6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Vitamin D is very important to overall health. Rated up!

    • HealthGuru1248 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thank you Nan Mynatt! You have a great doctor.. Some docs don't even include it in annual blood work ups even though its so important

    • Nan Mynatt profile image

      Nan Mynatt 

      6 years ago from Illinois

      Good information and very true. My doctor recommended vitamin D for me, he ran test that indicated I had a deficientcy. I marked you up on this one.

    • HealthGuru1248 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thank you for commenting! Absolutely the sun is very important in getting adequate levels which is why the winter is usually a problem with northern regions. At this time it is even more important to supplement with vitamin d.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      6 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Nice and useful hub! You are right, Vitamin D can be obtained best by Sun exposure, for some time. The Vitamin D chart you have shared is very useful.



    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)