When your pain is from head to toe, as it is with fibromyalgia (FM), it can be difficult for you and your doctor to know if some other hidden process is slowly making your pain worse. In recent years, the high incidence of vitamin deficiency in chronic pain patients has been documented in several studies. When vitamin D is deficient, intestinal absorption of dietary calcium is inadequate, and there is not enough of this mineral to form strong bones. This leads to a diffuse-type of pain in the bones and surrounding muscles ... a pain that responds poorly to treatment with anti-inflammatory medications (such as ibuprofen or Aleve) or opioids.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, looked at 267 chronic pain patients who participated in a three-week comprehensive pain management class to compare their opioid use with their vitamin D levels.* First, the participants were grouped into inadequate and adequate vitamin D levels. Second, they were further divided into opioid users and non-opioid users. For the 52 percent prescribed an opioid, their dose and duration of opioid consumption was recorded.
The chronic pain patients (many of them diagnosed with fibromyalgia and low back pain) who were deficient in vitamin D were also found to be taking twice the opioid dose than those without vitamin D deficiency. In addition, they tended to be on this class of pain relievers for a much longer period of time. And despite their higher dose of opioids, their scores on physical functioning and health perception were lower than for those patients who had sufficient vitamin D levels. The findings imply that the opioids are not working as effectively as they could because this higher-dosed group still exhibited more symptoms.
If you have been on a stable dose of opioid for a while, but lately you have noticed the need to increase your dose, ask your doctor for a simple blood test to measure your vitamin D levels (best measured as 25-hydroxy-vitamin D). If you are running low, your doctor will initially prescribe high-dose vitamin D until your blood levels return to normal. Then you should continue supplementing with 1,000 to 2,000 international units (I.U.) per day. Hopefully it will ease your pain and prevent you from needing a higher and higher opioid dose.
This study showed that vitamin D deficiency represented an under-recognized source of pain-related signals entering the central nervous system. In these circumstances, it makes more sense to supplement with vitamin D than to continually increase opioid dose, particularly since these medications are usually ineffective for treating diffuse bone pain
Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, scoliosis, back problems, hypothyroidism.
WOW, this is really fascinating!! I'm copying & taking it to the doc. I was planning on getting my Vit D checked out @ my next appt. anyway. But since my doc. does acccupunture he might find it helpful when it comes to his other patients with chronic pain.
Ya know, you mods are really FANTASTIC!!! I love the fact that you come up with these articles and have alternatives for us. I think one of the reasons we get so many new members that come here and stay & love this forum is information just like this. I love ALL of you. You've given me and the rest of the members reason for hope with this debilitating syndrome. Thanks so much for ALL that you do!!! Big HUGS to all of you!!