What Vitamins Help Back Pain

Back pain is often the result of injuries of the low back, affecting the bones, ligaments, and muscles. Like all the cells in the body, these structures also rely on essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals to function. Could certain vitamins help manage back pain? Let’s find out. 

Back pain and vitamin  D deficiency. What is the connection? 

Vitamin D deficiency is a very common problem, an estimated 1 billion people worldwide have insufficient levels of this nutrient. Vitamin D is well known to support immune system function, bone, heart, lung, muscles, kidneys, mood, and cognition. Relevant to back pain, vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium and reduces the risk of fractures. Muscles also rely on this vitamin, as the by-products (metabolites) of this nutrient increase the muscle cells’ ability to contract and stay strong. Vitamin D has also anti-inflammatory and painkiller qualities and promotes a healthy weight. Low levels of vitamin D affect the appetite hormone leptin, making you feel hungry all the time. 

While not all studies show the benefits of vitamin D supplements for back pain, it makes sense to correct vitamin D for your overall health. Related to back pain,  an in-depth review/meta-analysis of over 20 well-designed studies found a strong association between vitamin D deficiency and low back pain. This was particularly true for individuals over 60 years of age, especially for women. Other research studies found vitamin D supplements can improve back pain and disability, particularly in those with severe vitamin D deficiency, and those with excess weight- including overweight and obese. While the typical dose of vitamin D for adults is 1000-3000 IU, it is best to supplement according to vitamin D blood levels. 

Vitamin C deficiency and low back pain 

Low blood levels  of vitamin C are significantly correlated with a higher prevalence of back  pain and functional limitation, based on a study involving thousands of adults over age 20, suggests a 2006 study published in the journal “Pain.”  Researchers considered The optimal vitamin C concentration level to be 53–70 μmol/l. Although more research is needed to confirm the exact role of vitamin C, researchers suggest that vitamin C deficiency contributes to poor collagen levels and back pain. In addition, vitamin C is well known to have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities. Vitamin C, along with B vitamins, D, CoQ10,  magnesium, and other nutrients, is also considered a potential alternative to opioid painkillers due to its ability to relieve pain, according to another research study. Unlike vitamin D, there are no blood tests routinely done for vitamin C levels. The typical daily dose of vitamin C for adults is 500 mg-1000 mg daily. A buffered form of vitamin C is preferred over ascorbic acid to avoid stomach irritation. 

CoQ10 and low back pain 

CoQ10 is a vitamin-like molecule with many health benefits. This naturally occurring compound decreases as we age. Low levels of CoQ10 correlate with chronic degenerative conditions, fibromyalgia, heart and muscular diseases.  It has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities. It can also help relieve pain and has been evaluated in research studies- especially for chronic pain following surgeries and chronic back pain after acute episodes.  CoQ10 supplements also help reduce muscle pain caused by statin drugs. The daily dose of CoQ10 is 60- 200 mg and even 400 mg daily. 

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B vitamins (plus diclofenac) for low back pain 

All B vitamins, and especially vitamins B1, B6 and B12 have anti-inflammatory qualities and support nerve health.  Vitamin B complex plus diclofenac may help manage low back pain, according to research studies. This study divided the participants into two groups. One group received the anti-inflammatory diclofenac, while the second group diclofenac plus the vitamins B1, B6 and B12. The group that received B vitamins plus diclofenac achieved more pain relief after 3 days of treatment compared with those who had diclofenac only. B vitamins are available in combination in supplements labeled B complex, although there are formulas for nerve health that contain onlyB1, B6, and B12. 

Unlike standard drugs, vitamins are essential nutrients needed for the optimal function of each cell. Nutrient deficiencies are common, and taking supplements or eating vitamin-rich foods can help correct these deficiencies. For back pain, consider first vitamins D, C, Bs, and CoQ10. Vitamin D is found in small quantities in fatty fish and can be mostly obtained from supplements. Fatty fish, organ meats, eggs, seafood, and legumes are great sources of B vitamins. Green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, berries, kiwis, tomatoes, and bell peppers are rich in vitamin C. CoQ10 supplements are needed, because these nutrients are found only in small quantities in foods like fish, eggs, organ meats, sesame seeds, and broccoli. 

In addition to vitamins, there are a few minerals that can help better manage this condition. For more details on home remedies, minerals, and other supplements check out this article.

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