Menopause: Vitamin D deficiency can cause back problems

Postmenopausal women in particular should avoid vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is very common in postmenopausal women and can be an indicator of severe intervertebral disc degeneration and lower back pain. Vitamin D supplementation can reduce this pain.

The current study by the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) found that vitamin D deficiency in postmenopausal women is associated with severe intervertebral disc degeneration and lower back pain. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Menopause".

What is lumbar disc degeneration?

Lumbar disc degeneration is a musculoskeletal disorder that often causes lower back pain. The lumbar intervertebral disc degeneration and the resulting pain in the lower back become more worrying with increasing age and disproportionately affect women than men, probably as a result of the falling estrogen level during menopause, the researchers report in a press release.

Other risk factors for back pain

Earlier studies have shown the effects of estrogen on disc degeneration, which partly explains why degeneration is more severe in postmenopausal women than in men of the same age. The new study found that vitamin D deficiency, smoking, high body mass index (BMI), and osteoporosis are risk factors for severe back pain. In addition to lower estrogen levels, vitamin D deficiency often occurs during postmenopause.

That is why vitamin D is so important for the body

Vitamin D is vital for maintaining calcium and phosphorus levels and helps prevent bone diseases such as rickets and osteoporosis. A vitamin D deficiency is often accompanied by pain in the lower back. Supplementation can relieve this pain and improve musculoskeletal strength.

When is there a severe vitamin D deficiency?

In the new study, the researchers concluded that vitamin D deficiency is very common in postmenopausal women and that a vitamin D serum concentration of less than 10 ng / mL, which indicates a serious deficiency, is an indicator of severe intervertebral disc degeneration and lower back pain should be considered. Additional risk factors such as smoking, high BMI and osteoporosis for lower back pain were also identified.

Vitamin D deficiency states should be avoided at all costs

Very low levels of vitamin D are associated with a greater likelihood of moderate to severe lower back pain and greater degeneration of the lumbar vertebrae, possibly due to the positive effects of vitamin D on sensitivity to nerve and muscle pain, muscle strength and mass as well as inflammation. Although not all women need vitamin D supplementation, the results still speak for the importance of avoiding severe vitamin D deficiency. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Postmenopause Vitamin D Deficiency Associated With Disc Degeneration and Lower Back Pain, The North American Menopause Society (Published Feb 12, 2020), NAMS

Video: Vitamin D Deficiency and Treatment: Which and How Much? (January 2022).