Diffuse musculoskeletal pain is not associated with low vitamin D levels or improved by treatment with vitamin D

J Clin Rheumatol. 2008 Feb;14(1):12-6. doi: 10.1097/RHU.0b013e31816356a9.


Background: Uncontrolled studies have suggested that vitamin D insufficiency causes diffuse musculoskeletal pain.

Objectives: Comparison of vitamin D levels in patients with diffuse musculoskeletal pain with controls; evaluation of the effect of treatment with vitamin D on diffuse pain.

Methods: 25-Hydroxyvitamin D levels were measured in patients with diffuse musculoskeletal pain and osteoarthritis (controls) recruited from a community rheumatology practice. The diffuse pain patients with 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels < or = 20 ng/mL were randomized to receive placebo or ergocalciferol 50,000 IU once weekly for 3 months. Outcomes assessed were pain measured by visual analog scale (VAS) and functional pain score (FPS).

Results: One hundred eighty-four patients with diffuse pain and 104 with osteoarthritis entered the study. Mean 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels did not differ between the groups (diffuse pain 29.2 ng/mL +/- 13.0, controls 28.8 ng/mL +/- 10.5; P = 0.78); nor did the percent of patients in each group with vitamin D levels < or = 20 ng/mL (diffuse pain 29%, controls 20%; P = 0.09). Fifty patients with diffuse pain who had 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels < or = 20 ng/mL were randomized to receive vitamin D or placebo for 3 months. Vitamin D treatment had no effect on pain in comparison to baseline (VAS P = 0.73; FPS P = 0.18) or at 3 months in comparison to placebo (VAS P = 0.12; FPS P = 0.05, in favor of placebo).

Conclusions: Low vitamin D levels are not associated with diffuse musculoskeletal pain, and treatment with vitamin D does not reduce pain in patients with diffuse pain who have low vitamin D levels.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Ergocalciferols / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / blood
  • Fibromyalgia / drug therapy*
  • Fibromyalgia / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / blood
  • Osteoarthritis / drug therapy*
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / drug therapy*
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use*
  • Whites


  • Ergocalciferols
  • Vitamins