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Improvement of Pain, Sleep, and Quality of Life in Chronic Pain Patients With Vitamin D Supplementation

Huang, Wei MD, PhD*,†; Shah, Shivani DO; Long, Qi PhD; Crankshaw, Alicia K. MD; Tangpricha, Vin MD, PhD§,∥

doi: 10.1097/AJP.0b013e318255655d
Original Articles

Objectives: To evaluate the effects of vitamin D supplementation in outpatient veterans with multiple areas of chronic pain.

Methods: A case series was performed as an outpatient vitamin D supplementation quality improvement project. A total of 28 US veterans with multiple areas of chronic pain and low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] (<30 ng/mL) concentrations at baseline were identified in a major Veterans Affairs Medical Center from May 2009 till November 2010. They were supplemented with vitamin D 1200 IU daily if serum 25(OH)D was in the insufficient range (20 to 29 ng/mL) or 50,000 IU weekly if serum 25(OH)D was in the deficient range (<20 ng/mL). Standardized outcome measures were assessed before and after supplementation, including pain assessed by the 0 to 10 pain score and the bodily pain domain score of the Veterans Rand 36 item, sleep by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, and quality of life (QoL) by the Veterans Rand 36 item.

Results: Participants reported no side effects during the study. Relative to baseline, pain, sleep, and QoL all improved except for role-functioning emotional. The improvements remained significant in pain score (P<0.001), sleep latency (P=0.019), sleep duration (P=0.012), bodily pain (P=0.014), general health (P=0.006), vitality (P=0.048), and social functioning (P=0.017) after controlling for age, sex, race, body mass index, season, baseline serum 25(OH)D concentration subgroup, and whether or not participants received additional procedural intervention during the supplementation period.

Conclusions: Standardized vitamin D supplementation in veterans with multiple areas of chronic pain can be effective in improving their pain levels, sleep, and various aspects of QoL.

*Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Geriatrics, Extended Care Service Line, Atlanta VA Medical Center, Decatur

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

§Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism & Lipids, Emory University School of Medicine

Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA

Supported in part by US Department of Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research NW Washington, DC and Development Career Development Award Level II (W.H.) (B6924W). The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Wei Huang, MD, PhD, PM&R/Geriatrics, Extended Care, and Rehabilitation Service Line, 508/11B, Atlanta VA Medical Center, 1670 Clairmont Road, Decatur, GA 30033 (e-mail:

Received August 27, 2011

Accepted March 13, 2012

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins