Vitamin D deficiency implicated in lumbar disc degeneration, lower back pain in women
Postmenopausal women with vitamin D deficiency are at greater odds of having lumbar disc degeneration (LDD) and low back pain (LBP), with a serum vitamin D concentration of <10 ng/mL being a marker of severe LDD and LBP, as reported in a recent study.
Researchers looked at 232 women (mean age, 65.6 years). They measured serum concentrations of bone turnover markers by electrochemiluminescence assays and evaluated disc degeneration using the Pfirrmann grading system.
The mean serum 25(OH)D concentration of the cohort was 19.38 ng/mL, with 12.9 percent of women having severe vitamin D deficiency (<10 ng/mL) and 12.5 percent having normal status (>30 ng/mL). Relative to other vitamin D status groups, the severely deficient group had higher visual analogue scale (VAS) scores for LBP (p=0.002) and lower bone mineral density T scores (p=0.004).
There was a strong association between lower 25(OH)D concentration (<10 ng/mL) and more severe LDD in the lumbosacral region (L4-S1, L1-S1; p<0.05) but not in the upper lumbar region. Moreover, vitamin D concentration was inversely related to the severity of disc degeneration (L2-L3, L4-S1, L1-S1; p<0.05).
On analysis adjusted for confounding factors, significant factors associated with a higher prevalence of moderate-to-severe pain in postmenopausal women were as follows: smoking, vitamin D deficiency, lack of vitamin D supplementation, high body mass index and low bone mineral density T score (p<0.05).