Running on Empty: Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies Causing Back Discomfort

Running on Empty: Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies Causing Back Discomfort


Many of us have had lower back pain at least once. This can be from overuse, posture issues, or a physical injury. But, it can also come from a lack of vitamins and minerals. Here we look at the connection between deficiencies and back ache. We also look at how to avoid and treat these issues.

Definition of Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies occur when there are suboptimal levels of vitamins and/or minerals in the body. These deficiencies can be due to poor diet, illness, certain medications, or other medical conditions. The lack of vitamins and minerals can lead to many symptoms, including back discomfort.

Vitamins and minerals are very important for the body. They help reactions, regulate cells, give electrolyte balance, and support nerve conduction. To stay healthy, we need a certain amount of each vitamin and mineral. People who don’t get enough of them can have fatigue, headaches, slow wound healing, depression, or anxiety.

Back discomfort caused by vitamin/mineral deficiency has three main causes:

  • B-complex deficiency causes muscle weakness;
  • magnesium deficiency causes spasms; and
  • Vitamin C deficiency causes joint pain.

Additionally, zinc deficiencies can lead to intense muscular aches.

Overview of Back Discomfort

Back pain can be due to many causes, such as posture or medical issues like herniated discs. But, it’s often not seen that nutritional deficiency can be a factor. Vitamins and minerals, like B12, vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium, are important for muscle and bone health. Not having enough of these nutrients can result in chronic back pain.

The body needs a variety of vitamins and minerals. If one of these is missing, it leads to deficiencies and health issues all over the body, including back pain. B12, vitamin D3, calcium, magnesium, and iron can all cause back discomfort if there is an imbalance. This can create muscle tension and tightness, as well as joint movement changes which lead to ache or stiffness in the lower back.

Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies

Vitamins and minerals can lack in our bodies for many reasons. Sometimes it’s because of an unhealthy diet or certain dietary rules. Other times, it’s because the vitamins and minerals aren’t being properly absorbed or used. It’s vital to be aware of their role in our health. Deficiencies can cause multiple issues, such as long-term back pain.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D is majorly important. It helps the body absorb calcium and phosphate. These are vital for strong bones, muscles and teeth. A Vitamin D deficiency can cause many health issues, including bone pain and even weak muscles. Studies show that it increases the risk of back pain too.

Your body gets Vitamin D from two sources. Sunlight and diet. Food such as milk, eggs, and certain cereals are fortified with Vitamin D. Some people take Vitamin D supplements if they don’t get enough from food or sunlight. People who don’t get enough Vitamin D—like those with darker skin tones or poor diets—are especially at risk for back pain.

Vitamin D deficiencies can happen when:

  • You go outside less
  • You don’t eat enough foods like oily fish or eggs
  • You have obesity or other medical conditions that reduce absorption
  • You take certain drugs that cause malabsorption
  • Your kidneys can’t change Vitamin D into its active form

If you believe you may have a Vitamin D deficiency, chat with your doctor. Possible solutions include changing your diet, going outside more, taking supplements, or periodic injections.

Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium is an important mineral. It helps the muscles and nerves. It also helps produce enzymes for digesting food. A lack of magnesium can lead to back pain. Causes could be not eating enough of the right foods, like dark green veggies, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, and grains. Other causes can be taking medications or drinking alcohol.

Signs of low magnesium include:

  • Cramps
  • Feeling tired
  • Twitching muscles
  • Weak or spastic muscles in the back or neck
  • Restless legs
  • Feeling anxious
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Raynaud’s Syndrome
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Tingling fingers
  • Constipation
  • Bad mood
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Twitching eyes
  • Nausea

If you have these symptoms, see a doctor.

Men aged 19+ should get 420 mg of magnesium a day. Women aged 19+ should get 320 mg. To stay healthy, eat balanced meals with lots of plants, take a multivitamin, and take 200 mg of magnesium daily. Also, try epsom salt baths, which could help with muscle pain from low magnesium.

Iron Deficiency

Iron deficiency is a common mineral deficiency, especially in women. It’s caused by low hemoglobin levels, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen in the body. Symptoms include tiredness, fatigue, pale skin, hair loss, headaches, and irritability. Some people may experience backache too.

The causes? Not enough dietary intake of iron or other minerals, or blood loss due to heavy periods or childbirth. To help, take an iron supplement and eat a balanced diet with leafy greens and nuts like spinach and pumpkin seeds. These foods are rich in dietary iron and vital nutrients for optimal health.

Symptoms of Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies

Vitamins and minerals can result in back aches. Muscles, tendons and bones can be affected, causing persistent pain. If proper levels of vitamins and minerals are not present, the signs can worsen. Let’s look at the potential signs of vitamin and mineral deficiencies linked to back discomfort:

Vitamin D Deficiency

Symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency can be tricky to detect. Mood swings, difficulty concentrating, exhaustion, bone and muscle ache, and regular colds and infections can all be signs. People with a Vitamin D deficiency due to no sun exposure may have bone swelling, bone deformities, muscle pain, and tenderness by the spine when touched. This is called “Osteomalacia” or “Adult Rickets”.

Low Vitamin D levels can also cause depression or anxiety.

More serious signs include:

  • Chronic backache and weak muscles
  • Weak bones (which makes fractures more likely)

If chronic back pain cannot be explained by other tests (like inflammation or spinal damage) a doctor may order a 25-hydroxy Vitamin D test to check for low levels resulting from sun deprivation or dietary imbalances.

Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium is key for daily life, yet most folks don’t know the symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Signs range from subtle to extreme.

  • Headaches, fatigue, carb/sugar cravings, bad sleep and trouble concentrating are common signs.
  • Low levels can also cause muscle or joint pain due to constricted blood vessels. This lack of nutrients can cause chronic aches as muscle fibers spasm. Cysts and fibromyalgia can also be a result.
  • Depression, irritability, agitation and anxiety can come from inadequate magnesium in the body. Scientists think these psychological effects are caused by physical changes due to mineral deficiencies, like magnesium which helps with brain cell reactions.
  • Weakness and lowered immunity are linked to less than needed amounts of magnesium. These conditions shouldn’t be ignored as they can become serious if left untreated.

Iron Deficiency

Iron deficiency is a common mineral lack. It can have lasting effects on the body. Symptoms include:

  • Fatigue and muscle weakness.
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness.
  • Headaches.
  • Craving for non-nutritive substances like dirt or ice.
  • Brittle nails.
  • Pale skin.
  • Chest pain.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Shortness of breath.

Iron is essential for many bodily functions. It helps transport oxygen to cells. Low iron may lead to low energy levels and chronic fatigue. It can also cause increased sensitivities to temperature changes and back pain.

It’s important to identify and address any mineral deficiencies. Iron is one of several vitamins and minerals that are essential for metabolic function and optimal energy performance. If you experience any of the symptoms listed, consult with a medical professional. They can tell you how to get your iron levels tested and what type of dietary changes may benefit you most.

Causes of Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can have a colossal effect on our bodies. They can even be the source of chronic back pain. So, it is essential to identify the reasons for these deficiencies. Then take the proper steps to fix them.

In this article, let us investigate the various causes of vitamin and mineral deficiencies that could be causing your back pain:

Poor Diet

Poor dietary habits can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. This can include back discomfort. People who eat unhealthy food, such as snacks, white flours, fried food, sugary drinks, and desserts, are more likely to have this issue.

Those with back discomfort should plan meals with nutritious ingredients. This includes

  • lean proteins like turkey or salmon,
  • fiber-rich fruits and vegetables,
  • healthy fats,
  • whole grains, and
  • dairy products.

Additionally, taking vitamin supplements can help if dietary intake is not enough. Doing this can help maintain bone health, reducing the risk of further aggravating an existing condition.

Lack of Sun Exposure

Sun exposure is the main source of vitamin D in our bodies, but most of us don’t get enough of it. This can lead to deficiencies in both vitamins and minerals, especially in people at northern latitudes. Low levels of vitamin D2 and D3 can cause problems with muscles and ligaments, leading to back pain.

People who can’t move a lot due to chronic illness, injury or surgery need to get more sun exposure. Vitamin D deficiencies can affect bone health and even contribute to depression.

Everyone should get 10-15 minutes of sun exposure three times a week on unprotected skin. But, beware of overexposure, which can cause sunburns or other side effects. Eating oily fish, fortified milk and eggs can also help provide additional support if sunlight is not an option.

Poor Digestive Health

Poor digestive health is a major cause of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. It could be due to bad diet, lack of nutrient absorption, or an issue with the digestive system. Poor digestion can make it hard for our body to absorb vitamins and minerals. It can also lead to inflammation and pain in our body, like back pain.

Dietary supplements like probiotics, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, and fiber supplements can help support digestion and fill nutritional gaps. Eating high-quality fats like avocados and olive oil can help support healthy digestion.

Treating Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies

Vitamins and minerals are needed for our bodies. Not having enough can cause back pain and other health issues. We need to know which vitamins and minerals we are missing. This article will look at how to treat vitamin and mineral deficiencies that can cause back discomfort.

Dietary Changes

A balanced diet full of essential vitamins and minerals is key for health and avoiding medical problems. Eating a variety of whole foods helps ensure dietary requirements are met. Lean proteins, veggies, fruits, nuts, beans, grains and dairy should be staples. Depending on age, gender and needs, there may be additional supplements.

Create an eating plan with three meals and snacks if desired. Keep track of what you eat and use an online nutrition calculator to check for nutrient deficiencies or excesses. This feedback can help when making dietary changes if the body’s natural chemistry is out of balance.


There is a wide selection of supplements to treat vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Forms of supplementation can include tablets, capsules, liquids, or powders. Dietary and lifestyle changes, such as increasing fish, nuts, and legumes, as well as reducing smoking, are also recommended.

It is important to take the right supplement and the right dosage. Overdosing can be dangerous, so consulting a healthcare practitioner before beginning any supplement regimen is essential.

Common vitamins and minerals that are supplemented include:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B-complex
  • Minerals (calcium, magnesium, iron)
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D

Other supplements to consider:

  • Omega-3s to reduce inflammation
  • Digestive enzymes to help break down food
  • Probiotics to improve digestion and restore beneficial gut bacteria balance.

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes can be effective for treating deficiencies linked to back pain. It is essential for people to include physical activity in their daily regimen and reduce stress. If not followed, this may worsen the problem. To achieve the desired results, one must consistently work towards this goal.

It is important to watch your diet, and fuel your body with the right nutrients. This means eating whole grains, veggies, and taking Vitamin and Mineral supplements when necessary. Different vitamins and minerals interact, so consuming a diet with various vitamins and minerals each day helps maintain optimal health.

Getting enough rest is equally as vital as proper nutrition for maintaining healthy levels of Vitamins and Minerals. It is recommended that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep each night to promote bodily functions for optimal health.


To wrap it up, if you don’t get enough vitamins and minerals, your muscles – particularly those in the back – can become tense and strained. If you’re having back pain that hasn’t been checked out by a doctor, get a blood test to determine which vitamins or minerals you’re missing.

You can tackle the deficiency with a change of diet or supplements. But always talk to a medical professional before taking any supplements since the amount you need depends on your individual needs.

Last but not least, better nutrition equals better health – so let’s all shoot for that!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the main cause of back discomfort?

A: Back discomfort can be caused by a variety of factors, including lack of exercise, poor posture, and muscle and joint issues. However, it is also possible that vitamin and mineral deficiencies may be contributing to the discomfort.

Q: Which vitamins and minerals are most commonly linked to back discomfort?

A: Vitamin D and calcium are important for bone health and can affect the strength and structure of the spine. Magnesium and potassium also play a role in muscle function and can impact back discomfort if deficient.

Q: How can I tell if I have a deficiency in these vitamins and minerals?

A: The best way to determine if you have a vitamin or mineral deficiency is to get a blood test from your healthcare provider. Symptoms of deficiency can include muscle weakness, fatigue, and joint pain.

Q: Will taking supplements for these vitamins and minerals alleviate back discomfort?

A: Supplementing with the appropriate vitamins and minerals can help alleviate back discomfort caused by deficiencies. However, it is important to get the right dosage and form of supplementation, so it is best to consult with a healthcare provider before starting a supplement regimen.

Q: Can diet alone provide the necessary amount of these vitamins and minerals?

A: It is possible to get the necessary vitamins and minerals through a balanced diet that includes dairy products, leafy greens, nuts, and fish. However, depending on individual factors such as absorption, additional supplementation may be necessary.

Q: Will treating a vitamin or mineral deficiency solve all back discomfort issues?

A: Not necessarily. While addressing a vitamin or mineral deficiency can help improve back discomfort, there may be other factors such as posture or muscle tension that need to be addressed as well. Working with a healthcare provider or physical therapist can help identify and address these other potential factors.

the back recovery program by alex larsson
Jane Smith is a natural health enthusiast on a mission to uncover effective methods for achieving pain-free living. Through her personal journey with chronic back pain, she has become well-versed in holistic approaches such as yoga, Pilates, and essential oils.

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