The Missing Pieces: Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies and Their Role in Back Pain

The Missing Pieces: Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies and Their Role in Back Pain


Vitamins and minerals are important for a healthy diet. They are good for overall wellbeing and also help with bodily functions. Not having enough vitamins and minerals can lead to various health issues, such as fatigue and weak immunity. Now, research has revealed the unexpected link between vitamin and mineral deficiencies and back pain.

This article will look into the types of vitamins and minerals necessary for good physical health. It will focus on those related to back pain. It will also explain the signs of lack of these vitamins and minerals, treatments, lifestyle changes that may help, and the part that supplements play in addressing the deficiency. Lastly, it will mention previous studies and provide resources for further reading, if desired. We hope this information will be helpful to those dealing with back pain and will help them to consider both medical treatments and nutrition-related changes.

Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can cause a range of issues, including chronic back pain. When vitamins and minerals are deficient, it decreases the production of hormones, enzymes and neurotransmitters. Consequently, this can lead to spasms, inflammation and pain. It can be hard to move or even cause chronic pain.

It’s crucial to understand the role of vitamins and minerals in the body and how a deficiency can affect your health:

  • Decreased production of hormones, enzymes and neurotransmitters.
  • Spasms, inflammation and pain.
  • Difficulty moving and chronic pain.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is often called the “sunshine vitamin” as it is made through direct exposure to sunlight. It defends bones from age and disease, and helps your body take in calcium and phosphorus. These two minerals boost bone health.

A Vitamin D deficiency can lead to certain problems. These include:

  • Soft, weak bones
  • Osteoporosis
  • Fractures or falls
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression
  • Back pain

Those who are most at risk are people with dark skin tones, or those unable to get enough sunlight due to age-related macular degeneration or locked-in syndrome.

If you think you may have a Vitamin D deficiency, see a doctor straight away. Taking supplements is a great way to make sure you are getting your daily needs of this important vitamin.


Magnesium is vital. It helps support muscle and nerve function, as well as absorbing calcium. Not getting enough can lead to weak muscles and spasms. This can cause chronic back or shoulder pain.

Magnesium energizes enzymes and helps organs like the heart and brain. Low levels can lead to bone loss. Symptoms include twitching, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, dizziness, and depression. See a doctor if you have any of these.

You can increase magnesium intake with diet. Eat more green leafy veg, fish, legumes, nuts, and seeds. You can also take tablets or capsules, or use transdermal magnesium oil or Epsom salt baths. Diet is best, but supplements can top up depleted stores. This can help reduce muscle pain from low magnesium.


Calcium is essential for our body. It helps form strong bones, healthy muscles, and a functioning nervous system. It also helps transmit nerve impulses and control blood pressure. Sadly, many do not get enough calcium in their diet and develop a deficiency.

A lack of calcium can cause pain due to nerve damage or muscle tension. Lower back pain has been linked to this deficiency, as muscles that support the spine require good nutrition. When calcium is low, bones weaken and wear-and-tear on cartilage and joint components causes pain.

Taking extra care with your diet, or supplementing with calcium, can help prevent bone mass from diminishing too quickly as we age. Calcium also keeps muscles strong, so if we don’t get enough through diet or supplements, our strength decreases. This could lead to further issues with back health, as muscular weakness puts extra strain on vertebrae and discs.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 deficiency is a common nutritional issue, especially among vegetarians and older adults. Symptoms may include muscle weakness, fatigue, tingling or numbness in hands/feet, difficulties with balance, depression, confusion, and memory loss. If not treated, it can lead to anemia.

Vitamin B12 is important for body processes. It helps with nerve cells and red blood cells, DNA synthesis, and a healthy immune system. Also, it has links to lower inflammation, which may reduce back pain symptoms.

Food sources of Vitamin B12 include:

  • Fish (salmon, tuna, sardines)
  • Eggs
  • Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt)
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Beef liver
  • Shellfish
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Mushrooms
  • Nuts and seeds (especially hemp seeds)

You can also get supplements from pharmacies and health food stores.

If you think you have a vitamin B12 deficiency, talk to your doctor. They will test your blood levels to confirm. Treatment could include upping intake through dietary sources or supplements, or in more severe cases, injections.


Iron is a key mineral found in many foods, such as lean beef, grains, fortified cereals, dried beans, nuts and dark green vegetables. It helps the body make hemoglobin, which carries oxygen all over the body. Anemia, caused by an iron deficiency, can lead to tiredness, headaches, dizziness, and in some cases, back pain.

Adults over 19 should have 8-18 milligrams (mg) per day, according to the Institute of Medicine’s Dietary Reference Intake (DRI). People who may be low in iron, like vegetarians or those with conditions that block iron absorption, can take supplements containing 18-60mg. Talk to your doctor to find out if you need supplements, and what dose is right for you.

How Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies Can Cause Back Pain

Vitamins, minerals and amino acids are essential for good musculoskeletal health. Yet, many people don’t get enough of them from their diet. Could deficiencies in these nutrients be linked to back pain? We explore this idea in this article.

Research has shown that vitamin and mineral deficiencies can be a factor in back pain. However, the full extent of their role is still unclear.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, otherwise known as the sunshine vitamin, is the most widespread vitamin deficiency in adults. It’s needed for strong bones and muscles. A lack of Vitamin D can lead to aches and pains, including back pain. People who don’t spend much time outdoors, or get enough sun, may not get enough Vitamin D through natural sources. Also, those who are overweight are more likely to be deficient, since Vitamin D is stored in fat cells.

A 2009 study showed that 18 percent of people with Vitamin D deficiencies suffered from back pain, compared to only 4 percent of those who didn’t have a deficiency. Other studies concluded that taking 2,000 IU of Vitamin D per day had a big impact on musculoskeletal health and decreased back pain symptoms by up to 83 percent. Taking supplements or eating foods rich in Vitamin D can help with chronic back pain caused by deficiency.


Magnesium is a mineral that aids in the body’s calcium absorption. It also helps with healthy connective tissue and muscles. Lower magnesium levels are linked to back pain.

Magnesium helps make collagen, which is important for joint health. It can also reduce pain and inflammation by reducing cytokines.

Magnesium supplements can be used to treat deficiency. These include magnesium citrate, sulfate, and aspartate. Topical creams containing magnesium can also help with muscle tension or strain.

Foods high in magnesium are dark leafy greens, nuts, beans, bananas, avocados, and whole grains. Eating more of these foods may help prevent or relieve back pain due to magnesium deficiency.


Calcium is essential for our bones and our bodies. It helps muscles stay strong, helps nerves to function and releases hormones. When too little calcium is present, it can cause muscle pains and weakness, and even back pain. This happens when the body takes the calcium from bones, weakening them and putting pressure on their joints.

Low calcium levels are often caused by inadequate nutrition or malabsorption. As we age, malabsorption can be more common due to changes in digestive enzymes or acid levels. Certain medications, like cholesterol-lowering drugs and antacids, can also lead to a deficiency. Vitamin D supplementation without enough calcium can also be a factor.

For those with bone health issues that keep them from getting enough calcium, speak to your healthcare provider about other sources. Dietary supplements like calcium citrate can help reduce back pain caused by calcium deficiencies.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a vital nutrient. It helps the body form red blood cells and keeps the nervous system healthy. It also combats chronic pain. A deficiency of this vitamin can cause back pain, due to its effects on the spinal cord, muscles, and bones. Low levels may also lead to chronic tiredness, which can make manual labour more painful.

Vitamin B12 is normally found in meat, fish, and other seafood. But, age and certain conditions such as Crohn’s disease and Coeliac’s disease can disturb the balance. People with inflammatory diseases, pregnant women, and seniors should look into supplementing their diets with Vitamin B12. It can help prevent and relieve back problems like scoliosis, slipped disc, and sciatica.

If you think you need Vitamin B12, talk to your doctor. They can order tests to check your levels and suggest changes to your dosage or supplementation.


Iron is a must-have mineral for oxygen levels in the body. It’s shortage, named anemia, can lead to back pain and other symptoms due to lack of oxygen. To stay healthy, you need to eat plants and animal-based sources of iron like organic red meat, fish, dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds. Sweet potatoes, lentils, quinoa and oatmeal are also good sources. Supplements can also be helpful if your diet doesn’t provide enough iron.

Low iron levels can cause:

  • Chronic fatigue or weakness
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Pale skin or nails
  • Headaches or ringing ears
  • Irregular heartbeat or chest pain
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Brittle nails
  • Hair loss
  • Pica (craving for non-foods)
  • Nail fragility
  • Numbness or tingling sensations in the back

If you have back pain from nutritional deficiency, it’s best to get tested by a doctor.

How to Treat Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies

Vitamins and minerals can impact chronic back pain. When your body lacks essential vitamins and minerals, it cannot operate as it should, resulting in pain and other issues. To treat and prevent these deficiencies, it’s important to recognize and solve vitamin and mineral imbalances.

Let’s explore how to address and prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies in relation to back pain:


Most vitamin and mineral deficiencies can be fixed with dietary changes. Eat foods full of the missing micronutrients. These include fresh veggies, fruits, and whole grains for Vitamins A, C, and B-6; red meat, fish, eggs, and dairy for zinc; and legumes for magnesium.

You may need to use supplements, but only with a doctor or nutritionist’s guidance. Taking multivitamins or mineral supplements can be helpful if they have the deficient nutrients. Also, you can get vitamins and minerals from fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals with folic acid or milk with vitamin D.


No quick fix exists for deficiencies, but supplements can help. Tablets, powders, capsules and injection solutions are available. Injections must be prescribed and administered by a doctor or nutritionist. Before taking supplements, consult your doctor or nutritionist.

Taking too much of one vitamin or mineral can be harmful, especially iron and calcium, which can be toxic in high doses. Consider dietary intake before supplementing with vitamins and minerals.


To finish, it’s important to understand how vitamins and minerals can lead to back pain. An imbalance in any of them can act as a spark for pain, swelling and even tissue breakdown. Monitor your diet and take supplements if needed, to keep the right levels and avoid backaches.

Eating balanced meals with a variety of vitamins and minerals is key to lessening the risk of backache. Also, exercise often to get the vital nutrition from food, not just from medications or supplements. Lastly, drinking lots of water will help your body absorb the vitamins and minerals from food. So, making sure you take in enough vitamins, minerals, fluids, and exercise is essential to reducing muscle pain from nutrient deficiencies.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can vitamin and mineral deficiencies contribute to back pain?

Yes, certain deficiencies of vitamins and minerals can cause or exacerbate back pain. For example, a lack of vitamin D, calcium, or magnesium can contribute to weak bones, which can increase the risk of fractures and spinal issues.

2. How do these deficiencies occur?

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can occur for several reasons, including poor diet, malabsorption of nutrients, certain medications, or underlying health conditions.

3. What are some common symptoms of deficiencies that contribute to back pain?

Some of the symptoms that may indicate a deficiency include muscle weakness, stiffness, and chronic pain. For example, a person with low levels of vitamin D may experience muscle weakness and ache in their back or limbs.

4. Can taking supplements help with back pain caused by deficiencies?

Supplements can be helpful in treating deficiencies, but it’s important to speak to a healthcare provider before starting any supplements or making significant changes in your diet. Testing levels of vitamins and minerals to identify any deficiencies is also recommended.

5. What foods should I eat to make sure I’m not deficient in vitamins and minerals that contribute to back pain?

Some foods that are good sources of vitamins and minerals that support bone health include leafy greens, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and fatty fish. Dairy products, eggs, and fortified foods are other good sources of certain nutrients.

6. Can untreated deficiencies lead to long-term back pain?

Yes, untreated deficiencies in the vitamins and minerals that support bone health can put individuals at risk of developing long-term back pain or chronic conditions like osteoporosis. Addressing deficiencies through diet or supplementation can help prevent these issues.

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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