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Fibromyalgia Sufferers Find Relief from Taking Vitamin D Supplements

Vitamin D supplements could be an effective and inexpensive treatment for people with fibromyalgia pain, according to a new study in the journal PAIN.

Fibromyalgia sufferers often feel tired and have widespread chronic pain. There is no cure, but there are treatment approaches to address symptoms, including pain. These treatments include physical therapy, behavioral therapy and medications, according to a January 17, 2014 press release by Elsevier, which publishes the journal.

Calcifediol (also known as calcidiol, 25-hydroxycholecalciferol, or 25-hydroxyvitamin D (OH)D) is a prehormone produced in the liver by the enzyme cholecalciferol (vitamin D3). Calcifediol is then converted to calcitriol (1,25-(OH)2D3), which is the active form of vitamin D. Doctors look for calcifediol levels in the blood to determine a person’s vitamin D status. Low calcifediol blood levels are common among those with severe pain and fibromyalgia.

Researchers in this study looked at 30 women with fibromyalgia and low calcifediol levels, defined as below 32ng/ml. The women were put into one of two groups: a treatment or control group. The goal for women in the treatment group was to raise calcifediol levels to between 32 and 48ng/ml by giving them vitamin D supplements for 20 weeks. Researchers reevaluated blood levels of calcifediol after five and 13 weeks. They measured levels again 25 weeks after the start of the supplementation, at which time treatment was discontinued, and after an additional 24 weeks without supplementation.

They found the perceived pain in the treatment group was greatly reduced 24 weeks after supplementation was stopped. Between the first and the 25th week on supplementation, the treatment group improved significantly on a scale of physical role functioning, while the placebo group remained unchanged. The treatment group also scored significantly better on a Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) on the question of “morning fatigue.” There were no notable changes in depression or anxiety, according to the release.

“We believe that the data presented in the present study are promising. [Fibromyalgia] is a very extensive symptom complex that cannot be explained by a vitamin D deficiency alone. However, vitamin D supplementation may be regarded as a relatively safe and economical treatment for [fibromyalgia] patients and an extremely cost-effective alternative or adjunct to expensive pharmacological treatment as well as physical, behavioral, and multimodal therapies,” says lead investigator Florian Wepner, MD, of the Department of Orthopaedic Pain Management, Spine Unit, Orthopaedic Hospital, Speising, Vienna, Austria. “Vitamin D levels should be monitored regularly in [these] patients, especially in the winter season, and raised appropriately.”

Physical therapists are trained to treat all types of pain, including acute pain and chronic pain. For more information about how physical therapy can relieve pain, contact A Physical Therapist, Inc.

A Physical Therapist, Inc., is a one-on-one physical therapy clinic in Delray Beach, Fla., and Harrisburg, Penn. For patients in Palm Beach County, A Physical Therapist, Inc., is easily accessible from Boca Raton or Boynton Beach. For patients in Dauphin County, A Physical Therapist, Inc., is easily accessible from Hershey and Marysville.

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