Hypovitaminosis D in female patients with chronic low back pain

Clin Rheumatol. 2007 Nov;26(11):1895-901. doi: 10.1007/s10067-007-0603-4. Epub 2007 Mar 22.


Chronic low back pain (LBP) is an extremely common problem in practice, where it is often labeled idiopathic. No sufficient studies have been conducted to analyze the contribution of hypovitaminosis D to the etiology of chronic LBP in populations wherein vitamin D deficiency is endemic. The present study was, therefore, carried out to examine hypovitaminosis D and its determinants in female patients with chronic LBP during the childbearing period. Sixty female patients complaining of LBP lasting more than 3 months were clinically studied rheumatologically and neurologically. Questionnaires and indices quantifying risk factors associated with vitamin D deficiency were utilized. Biochemical assays of serum calcium, phosphorus, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), parathormone (PTH), and 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25 OHD) were performed and compared to those of 20 matched healthy controls. The determinants of vitamin D levels in patients were examined by stepwise regression. Patients with LBP had significantly lower 25 OHD levels (p < 0.05) and significantly higher PTH (p < 0.05) and ALP (p < 0.001) than controls, although there were no significant group differences in calcium and phosphorus. Hypovitaminosis D (25 OHD < 40 ng/ml) was found in 49/60 patients (81%) and 12/20 (60%) of controls, with an odds ratio of 2.97. Although many risk factors related to sun exposure, clothing, diet, and pregnancy were significantly correlated with vitamin D levels in patients, only limited duration of sun exposure, contributing 55% to the variance of 25 OHD, limited areas of skin exposed (13%), and increased number of pregnancies (2%), were significant determinants of vitamin D levels in patients. Despite the sunny climate, hypovitaminosis D is prevalent among Egyptian women in the childbearing period, especially those presenting with chronic LBP, where it is associated with hyperphosphatasia and hyperparathyroidism, without alterations in serum calcium. The major determinant of hypovitaminosis D in our patients is limited sun exposure.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Calcium / blood
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Low Back Pain / complications*
  • Low Back Pain / diagnosis*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Osteomalacia / complications
  • Osteomalacia / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sunlight*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / diagnosis*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / etiology


  • Calcium