Can vitamin D deficiency produce an unusual pain syndrome?

Arch Intern Med. 1991 Aug;151(8):1662-4.


An unusual pain occurred in five patients in the presence of compromised vitamin D status and resolved 5 to 7 days after supplementation with vitamin D in the form of ergocalciferol. The pain had a hyperesthetic quality and did not respond to the use of analgesics, including opiate derivatives. Treatment with therapeutic levels of a tricyclic antidepressant did not bring relief of symptoms. In one case, months after treatment and subsequent improvement of vitamin D status and pain, the vitamin D status again declined and the pain recurred. The pain again resolved with vitamin D replacement and improvement of levels. There may be a pain syndrome associated with vitamin D depletion that appears as hyperesthesia worsened by light, superficial pressure or even small increments of movement. This pain restricts mobility and function and may lead to further complications, such as pressure sores.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ergocalciferols / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperesthesia / etiology
  • Leg
  • Male
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / drug therapy


  • Ergocalciferols