Vitamin D deficiency is significantly associated with lumbar disc degeneration (LDD) and low back pain (LBP) among postmenopausal women, according to new research from Menopause. The study also found that women who had an insufficiency/deficiency or severe deficiency were less likely to take vitamin D supplements and more likely to experience severe pain.
The retrospective observational study included data from 232 postmenopausal women (mean age 65.6 years ± 10.0 years) between July 2017 and December 2018. Each participant had been diagnosed with LDD or spinal instability based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and clinical symptoms.
Blood samples were collected to measure serum concentrations of 25(OH)D, ß type I collagen carboxyl terminal peptide (ß-CTX) and the N-terminal fragment of osteocalcin (N-MID). Participants were assigned to one of three groups based on their 25(OH)D concentrations: severe deficiency (< 10 ng/mL), deficiency/insufficiency (10-30 ng/mL) and normal (≥ 30 ng/mL). Bone mineral density was determined by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry and participants with a T score of < -2.5 were diagnosed with osteoporosis. A T score of -2.5 to -1.0 was diagnosed as osteopenia and a T score of > -1.0 was considered normal. A visual analog scale (VAS) score was used to assess the severity of LBP and participants were assigned to three groups according to this severity: a mild pain (1-3) group, a moderate pain (4-6) group, and a severe pain (7-10) group. Disc degeneration was evaluated using the Pfirrmann grading system.