Monday, August 27, 2012

Urgent Note Regarding Chronic Pain and Vitamins

Note:  I wouldn't normally put something like this out here this quickly but it happened to me, it happened to at least one of my friends, and so it could be happening to you too.....

A few weeks back, I was sidelined with a cold.  Along with that cold came a bunch of muscle pain.  Not so unusual I thought so just went on about my business.  Then suddenly my shoulder began to hurt.  I am not talking about the dull ache of a cold here, I am talking about the deep burning pain of a torn muscle or the like.  The pain took me back to college when I dislocated my shoulder. 

I had slipped the day before and did one of those not so graceful moves where you catch yourself before butt meets floor.  I struggled now to figure out if that some how caused me to tweak my shoulder.  The days went by and the pain stayed.  Some days it was so bad I could barely move my right side at all, others I had some limited relief.  It kept waking me up at night every time I shifted in my sleep. 

Then one morning after a particularly bad night, I was getting ready for work.  I had already shifted everything possible over to my left hand (thank goodness for ambidexterity!) but out of habit, I swung my right hand out and picked up my vitamins.  The pain was excruciating and literally made my hand numb.  The pill bottle dropped out of my hand and rolled off across the floor. 

As I picked it up, I noticed the label.  I had not noticed when I bought the vitamins a few weeks back but there it was on the front in large letters "now with 1,600 IU vitamin D3".  I rolled my eyes as I thought "great, now I have to check to see what else they changed to make sure there is nothing in there I might be allergic too."  I always buy the same vitamins (and have for years to avoid problems with allergies to them).  I put the bottle away and went on with my day.

On my way to work, that thought would cross my mind again.  Then suddenly be followed by the hazy recollection that something like this might have happened to someone I know.  I got to work and kept flipping it over and over in my head.  "Yes, I am pretty sure that my friend had a problem with his vitamins causing him horrible joint pain."  This problem with my shoulder started right after I bought these vitamins.  First chance I had, I was on the net looking around.

Most references cite that they give you excess D3 for joint pain.  Most references cite that most people are deficient in D3.  They you find the one little comment.... someone asks if it could be CAUSING their pain.  There is a link, then another, and another.  Then you find the one where someone quotes a medical paper saying that yes at first you CAN have pain from the D3 as your body goes into overload absorbing it all.  Of course, this is followed by the slew of people for whom the pain has NOT gone away.  You wonder, "if I need it so badly it hurts to take it, how long before it begins to settle down and stop hurting?"  I think of my friend who suffered for months before figuring out and subsequently quitting the vitamins.  I know there is no way I can do this for months.  I can barely do what I need to do, no way I will be able to do any real work.

So I search some more, more links more clicking.  Then I start to find links that lead me to this....

Click it and read it but what caught my eye was this: 

Quote:  Magnesium deficiency is epidemic in the United States, with the majority of Americans unknowingly deficient.   This can be problematic when optimizing vitamin D levels. In fact, it is common for rising vitamin D levels to bring up symptoms of an underlying magnesium deficiency.  Vitamin D has no known side effects. If one experiences any of the following symptoms due to supplementing with vitamin D - or with sun exposure - a magnesium deficiency is most likely the reason why: irritability or anxiety, nausea, headaches, insomnia, fatigue, muscle cramps/twitching, weakness, constipation.  End Quote.
Great.  I pulled up my vitamin label on line and looked.  Yep sure enough, the magnesium in them is lower than recommended.  I thought about it a bit, then wrote it up in a short little e-mail and sent it to my friend with the link. 
Later I talked to my friend who confirmed that yes, I was remembering correctly, his pain did go away after he quit the vitamins.  Mostly, he has chronic pain from old injuries but the massive pain he was in is gone.  The more we talked the more I thought this must be it.  I decided that it couldn't hurt to try the correct level of magnesium.
I stopped on my way home and picked up the magnesium I needed to bring the total up to the amount I needed.  I didn't really expect that it would help.  I didn't really expect to see much of anything at all to be honest.  Once home, I took one with my dinner then I settled down to watch a movie since the pain in my shoulder was so bad there was no hope to do anything else. 
Much to my surprise, I found that a few hours later there was absolutely no pain at all. None. I do not take pain killers at all so there is no chance it is anything else.  It has to be related.  Cautiously optimistic, I text my friend this unexpected result.  This morning after a peaceful uninterrupted nights sleep I am still pain free for the first time in weeks.
Why am I posting this?  I have so many friends who suffer from chronic pain that if this is in fact "epidemic" how many of them could have this issue?  It happened to me, it happened to my friend.... 

I am now hopeful.  I am still a bit skeptical but even the scientist in my head has to accept that yesterday I was in horrible pain and today I am not with no changes to anything except that one little vitamin.  Pain like that does not go away like this.  I have been moving my shoulder every which way this morning.  I lifted stuff, I pushed stuff, I pulled stuff, I rolled myself around on it.... nothing not even a small twinge of pain to say that anything at all had happened.

So.  If you take vitamins and have any of the problems listed in that article, check the label to see where the D3 level is and where the Mg level is.  If you have OTHER health issues also talk to your doctor before you go switching things around.

As for me, I will keep you posted as time goes on how this works. 


Anonymous said...

DeeAnne, it's Lois. How are you doing? I left blogspot for a short while because more of the Multiply group went to Blogster, but for various reasons I am not very impressed with Blogster. I prefer blogspot, so here I am again. What's new with you? And your pooch?

By the way, my new username here is catztrio (because I have three catz).

Anonymous said...

Hi DeeAnne, it's Lois. My new username is catztrio. I am not sure if you got my first message, so trying again..