Racial Differences in 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D and Self-Reported Pain Severity in a Sample of Individuals Living with Non-Specific Chronic Low Back Pain

Academic Article


  • Introduction: Considerable evidence suggests that there are significant ethnic/racial differences in the experience of pain among individuals suffering from chronic musculoskeletal conditions. Additionally, low levels of vitamin D have been associated with pain severity. Further, vitamin D deficiency is more prevalent in Non-Hispanic Black (NHB) individuals compared to Non-Hispanic Whites (NHW). Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the associations among race, pain severity, and serum levels of vitamin D in a sample of patients with chronic low back pain (cLBP). Methods: All study participants (n = 155) self-identified their race/ethnicity as either NHB or NHW. Blood samples were collected to assess circulating levels of serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D. Vitamin D levels were categorized as optimal (≥20 ng/mL), insufficient (12– 19 ng/mL) or deficient (<12 ng/mL). Participants then self-reported their pain severity using the Brief Pain Inventory – Short Form. Results: Results showed that a greater proportion of NHB versus NHW participants were categorized as Vitamin D deficient (χ2 (2, N = 155) = 16.79, p < 0.001). An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) revealed that NHBs reported significantly greater pain severity relative to NHWs (F(1150) = 6.45) p = 0.012. Further, self-reported pain severity significantly differed according to Vitamin D clinical categories (F(2150) = 4.19, p = 0.013). Participants with deficient vitamin D reported significantly greater pain severity in comparison to participants with optimal vitamin D (F(1101) = 7.28, p = 0.008). Conclusion: The findings suggest that Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to greater pain severity in a sample of individuals with cLBP, especially for those who identify as NHB.
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    Author List

  • Overstreet DS; Strath LJ; Hasan FN; Sorge RE; Penn T; Rumble DD; Aroke EN; Wiggins AM; Dembowski JG; Bajaj EK
  • Start Page

  • 3859
  • End Page

  • 3867
  • Volume

  • 15