Vitamin D Supplementation for Nonspecific Musculoskeletal Pain in non-Western Immigrants: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Ann Fam Med. Nov-Dec 2012;10(6):547-55. doi: 10.1370/afm.1402.

Abstract

Purpose: Many non-Western immigrants report musculoskeletal pains that are hard to treat. We studied the effect of high-dose vitamin D(3) on nonspecific persistent musculoskeletal complaints in vitamin D-deficient non-Western immigrants and assessed correlation of pain patterns with benefit.

Methods: We conducted a semi-crossover randomized controlled trial between February 2008 and February 2010 in primary care in 84 non-Western immigrants visiting their general practitioner for nonspecific musculoskeletal pain. At baseline, patients were randomized to placebo or vitamin D (150,000 IU vitamin D(3) orally); at week 6, patients in the original vitamin D group were randomized a second time to receive vitamin D (again) or to switch to placebo, whereas patients in the original placebo group were all switched to vitamin D. The main outcome was self-assessed change in pain after the first 6 weeks.

Results: Patients in the vitamin D group were significantly more likely than their counterparts in the placebo group to report pain relief 6 weeks after treatment (34.9% vs 19.5%, P = .04). The former were also more likely to report an improved ability to walk stairs (21.0% vs 8.4%, P = .008). Pain pattern was not correlated with the success of treatment. In a nonsignificant trend, patients receiving vitamin D over 12 weeks were more likely to have an improvement than patients receiving it over 6 weeks.

Conclusions: There is a small positive effect 6 weeks after high-dose vitamin D(3) on persistent nonspecific musculoskeletal pain. Future research should focus on longer follow-up, higher supplementation doses, and mental health.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Emigrants and Immigrants
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / drug therapy*
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • Vitamin D

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN54027991