If back pain is keeping you down, you might need more vitamin B12. Even for people who don’t have vitamin B12 deficiency, supplemental doses of vitamin B12 are effective for alleviating back pain and improving your body’s response to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble B vitamin that occurs in protein-based foods like beef, chicken, fish, eggs, and milk.
Your body requires adequate amounts of vitamin B12 for red blood cell distribution, neurological health, cognitive functioning, DNA synthesis, stamina, cardiovascular health, and numerous other biochemical functions.
Many risk factors are associated with vitamin B12 deficiency, including autoimmune disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, vegan diet, certain drug interactions, old age, and gastrointestinal surgery.
Placebo-controlled study on chronic back pain
In an Italian study, 60 patients suffering from constant back pain received one of two treatments: vitamin B12 shots, or a placebo.
Here are the details of that study:
- Participants ranged between 18 and 65 years of age.
- All had been suffering from back pain for at least 6 months.
- None required surgical procedures to correct chronic back pain.
- A visual analogic scale (VAS) and a Disability Questionnaire (DQ) were used to measure results.
- Scientists also observed consumption of paracetamol (acetaminophen) by both the vitamin B12 group and the placebo group during the study.
- After 15 days, patients who received vitamin B12 supplements experienced significant results, their VAS scores indicating an 80% reduction in back pain symptoms.
- Comparatively, the placebo group only experienced a 50% reduction in pain…
- However, the placebo group consumed nearly 3 times more paracetamol during the 15-day trial, while the vitamin B12 group were able to manage their pain on significantly fewer tablets of pain relievers.
“…therapeutical benefits of B-vitamins given in high dose, and in particular vitamin B12, in painful disorders of spinal nerve roots in the absence of typical signs of a nutritional deficiency have already been demonstrated.”
-G. Letizia Mauro, U. Martorana, P. Cataldo, G. Brancato, G. Letizia
How does B12 help your back?
Vitamin B12 is instrumental in supporting the nervous system, as it helps to maintain the myelin sheath which coats your nerve cells and protects you from demyelinating disorders such multiple sclerosis and peripheral neuropathy stemming from pernicious anemia.
With reference to back pain, scientists from this study conclude that vitamin B12 also has anti-inflammatory properties that aid in correcting degenerative disorders of the lumbar spine and improving the body’s response to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Where do I get more vitamin B12?
The participants in this study received injections of vitamin B12. Many hospitals administer vitamin B12 for patients with back pain. Because it requires a prescription, you will need to see a doctor in order to acquire vitamin B12 shots.
Other forms of vitamin B12 are available to purchase over-the-counter.
Read more about vitamin B12
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