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Pain. 2016 Nov;157(11):2527-2535.

Serum vitamin C and spinal pain: a nationwide study.

Author information

1
aCentre de recherche du CHU de Québec-Université Laval, Quebec City, QC, Canada bQuebec Centre of Excellence on Aging (CEVQ), Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec-Université Laval, Quebec City, QC, Canada cDepartment of Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, Quebec City, QC, Canada dFaculty of Pharmacy, Université Laval, Quebec City, QC, Canada eSchool of Nutrition, Université Laval, Quebec City, QC, Canada fDepartment of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, Quebec City, QC, Canada gEmergency Department, CHU de Québec-Université Laval, Quebec City, QC, Canada hDepartment of Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, Quebec City, QC, Canada.

Abstract

Back pain brings about one of the heaviest burden of disease. Despite much research, this condition remains poorly understood, and effective treatments are frustratingly elusive. Thus, researchers in the field need to consider new hypotheses. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an essential cofactor for collagen crosslinks, a key determinant of ligament, tendon, and bone quality. Recent studies have reported high frequency of hypovitaminosis C in the general population. We hypothesized that lack of vitamin C contributes to poor collagen properties and back pain. We conducted this study to examine the associations between serum concentration of vitamin C and the prevalence of spinal pain and related functional limitations in the adult general population. This study used nationwide cross-sectional data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003-2004. Data were available for 4742 individuals aged ≥20 years. Suboptimal serum vitamin C concentrations were associated with the prevalence of neck pain (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 1.5; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.2-2.0), low back pain (aOR: 1.3; 95% CI: 1.0-1.6), and low back pain with pain below knee (aOR: 1.3; 95% CI: 1.0-1.9) in the past 3 months, self-reported diagnosis of arthritis/rheumatism (aOR: 1.4; 95% CI: 1.2-1.7), and related functional limitations' score (adjusted difference of means [aB]: 0.03; 95% CI: 0.00-0.05). The prevalence of hypovitaminosis C in the general population is high. Our study shows associations between vitamin C and spinal pain that warrant further investigation to determine the possible importance of vitamin C in the treatment of back pain patients.

PMID:
27434504
DOI:
10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000671
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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