The Surprising Cause of Back Pain in Postmenopausal Women


Don’t be quick to blame aging. If you’re one of the many women in their postmenopausal years and experiencing back pain, here’s a revelation for you.

A recent study found that Vitamin D deficiency links closely with lumbar disc degeneration (LDD) and low back pain (LBP) in postmenopausal women. The said study observed 232 women with a mean age of 65. 

Lumbar Disc Degeneration and Lower Back Pain

Lumbar disc degeneration and lower back pain (LBP) are a common concern for elderly women. It is more prevalent among women than men, more likely due to the drop in their estrogen levels during menopause.

The recent research partially proves why degeneration is more frequent among postmenopausal women than in men belonging to the same age bracket. Also, why women in their postmenopause have lower estrogen concentration and vitamin D deficiency. 

Lumbar disc degeneration is a widespread musculoskeletal disease that triggers lower back pain. The study mentioned above focused on evaluating the connection between vitamin D deficiencies with back pain.

The Importance of Vitamin D

In case you didn’t know, vitamin D is vital in maintaining levels of phosphorus and calcium. It improves a person’s bone density and bone strength. Furthermore, vitamin D helps prevent bone diseases such as osteoporosis and rickets.

Past clinical studies have revealed that vitamin D deficiency has a connection with lower back pain (LBP) and that proper supplementation can relieve this pain and improve a person’s musculoskeletal strength. However, there are only a few existing studies regarding the role of vitamin D in spinal degeneration, most notably in women on their postmenopausal stage.

The Telling Conclusion of the Study

This new study evaluated the role of vitamin D in postmenopausal women and its relationship with disc degeneration and lower back pain. Its conclusion: Vitamin D deficiency is common in them, and they have a serum D level of less than 10 ng/mL, which is very low. It can be an indicator of severe disc degeneration and lower back pain. 

Furthermore, the study showed there are factors closely associated with a higher prevalence of medium to severe pain, and risk factors for even more significant back pain issues. Here are those additional factors:

  • Smoking 
  • High body mass index (BMI)
  • Lack of vitamin D supplementation
  • Osteoporosis
  • Severe vitamin D deficiency

This study revealed that deficient vitamin D levels lead to a higher likelihood of more severe lumbar disc degeneration and moderate to severe lower back pain. Vitamin D has positive effects on muscle strength and mass, nerve and muscle pain sensitivity, and inflammation. Although not all women require vitamin D supplementation, the study showed a high significance of avoiding severe vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D-Rich Foods to Eat

Vitamin D is present in some food. You may want to consider eating more of these healthy foods:

  • Oily fish – such as sardines, salmon, herring and mackerel
  • Fortified foods – they are in fat spreads and selected breakfast cereals
  • Red meat
  • Egg yolks
  • Liver

Vitamin D Supplements and Proper Dosage

If you can’t eat enough food rich in vitamin D, consider having another source of vitamin D from dietary supplements. Since it can be difficult for some people to get enough vitamin D from food alone, doctors recommend a daily supplement containing ten micrograms.

There is a warning, though: Taking too many vitamin D supplements for extended periods can cause the build-up of excessive calcium in the body, also known as hypercalcaemia. This condition can weaken the bones and damage the kidneys and the heart.

If you opt to have vitamin D supplements, then ten micrograms per day will be enough for you. Remember not to take more than 100 micrograms of vitamin D per day because it is dangerous for your health.

Back Pain Relief Through Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care

Whether your back pain persists due to vitamin D deficiency or something else, upper cervical chiropractic care can help you to find out the underlying cause of your particular problem. Upper cervical care is a unique branch of chiropractic that focuses on the proper alignment of the uppermost vertebra in the neck–the atlas (C1).  

There are two main reasons why the upper cervical spine is a high priority region to the overall health of the spine:

#1. The atlas (C1) supports the weight of the head and allows its movements.

Because it can move in so many directions, it is also quite vulnerable to misalignment.  When the head is not carried correctly over the rest of the spine, this leads to pain and various problems. Potential issues can be anywhere between the neck and the entire back. 

#2. The atlas (C1) vertebra also shields and protects the brainstem.

It is an essential component of the body’s central nervous system. If an atlas misalignment hinders the communication of signals between the brain and body, pain and loss of function can also become a problem. 

By examining and gently correcting the misalignment, an upper cervical chiropractor can correct the cause of many back pain issues at its root, rather than chase around mysterious symptoms. It can yield long-lasting favorable results. Medications can deal with pain symptoms but only provide temporary relief. Therefore, get long-lasting back pain relief from an upper cervical chiropractor. 

Keep in touch with an upper cervical practitioner near you. Please use our search function to help you find one.

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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.