Patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome (or FMS) typically suffer from chronic widespread pain and fatigue. In addition to the pain and fatigue, fibromyalgia patients may also suffer from sleep disorders, morning stiffness, confusion, and bouts of depression and anxiety.
There are several medications that help sufferers deal with the pain on a daily basis. Luckily, for those with low vitamin-D levels, there are ways to help alleviate constant aches and pains without taking medications. This is great because often times patients suffer from loss of employment or a withdrawal of social lives.
Although there is no one cure for fibromyalgia and most medications only treat a few symptoms at a time, there is hope for patients.
A study published in PAIN Magazine hypothesized that vitamin D supplementation might reduce the degree of chronic pain experienced by fibromyalgia suffers who already have low levels of calcifediol.
Lead researcher Florian Wepner, MD, of the Department of Orthopaedic Pain Management, Spine Unit, Orthopaedic Hospital, Speising, Vienna, Austria said, “Low blood levels of calcifediol are especially common in patients with severe pain and fibromyalgia. But although the role of calcifediol in the perception of chronic pain is a widely discussed subject, we lack clear evidence of the role of vitamin D supplementation in fibromyalgia patients.”
He continued, “We therefore set out to determine whether raising the calcifediol levels in these patients would alleviate pain and cause a general improvement in concomitant disorders.”
To test the hypothesis, researchers gave treatment and control groups 20 weeks of oral cholecalciferol (vitamin D) supplements.
And what did they find?
Forty nine weeks after the original dose of cholecalciferol supplements, patients reported a marked reduction in overall pain symptoms, where the placebo group saw no marked differences. Patients also marked significantly better on the question of “morning fatigue.” Unfortunately there were no differences in levels of depression and anxiety in either group.
Wepner stated, “We believe that the data presented in the present study are promising. FMS is a very extensive symptom complex that cannot be explained by a vitamin D deficiency alone. However, vitamin D supplementation may be regarded as a relatively safe and economical treatment for FMS patients and an extremely cost-effective alternative or adjunct to expensive pharmacological treatment as well as physical, behavioral, and multimodal therapies.