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Mayo Clinic Study Suggests Those Who Have Chronic Pain May Need to Assess Vitamin D Status
Date:3/20/2009

nctioning and health perception; and demographic information such as gender, age, diagnosis and body mass index.

Further research should document the effects of correcting deficient levels among these patients, researchers recommend.

This study has important implications for both chronic pain patients and physicians. "Though preliminary, these results suggest that patients who suffer from chronic, diffuse pain and are on narcotics should consider getting their vitamin D levels checked. Inadequate levels may play a role in creating or sustaining their pain," says Dr. Turner.

"Physicians who care for patients with chronic, diffuse pain that seems musculoskeletal -- and involves many areas of tenderness to palpation -- should strongly consider checking a vitamin D level," he says. "For example, many patients who have been labeled with fibromyalgia are, in fact, suffering from symptomatic vitamin D inadequacy. Vigilance is especially required when risk factors are present such as obesity, darker pigmented skin or limited exposure to sunlight."

Assessment and treatment are relatively simple and inexpensive. Levels can be assessed by a simple blood test (25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D]). Under the guidance of a physician, an appropriate repletion regimen can then be devised. Because it is a natural substance and not a drug, vitamin D is readily available and inexpensive.

In addition to the benefits of strong muscles and bones, emerging research demonstrates that vitamin D plays important roles in the immune system, helps fight inflammation and helps fights certain types of cancer.

Other study authors from Mayo Clinic include W. Michael Hooten, M.D., Department of Anesthesiology; John Schmidt, Ph.D., Department of Anesthesiology Research; and Jennifer Kerkvliet, Cynthia O. Townsend, Ph.D., and Barbara Bruce, Ph.D., all from the Pain Rehabilitation Center.

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SOURCE Mayo Clinic
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