Vitamin B12 for Back Pain

Approximately 50 percent of all adults working in the United States report back pain at least once per year, the American Chiropractic Association reports. Back pain can result in disability, anxiety and even depression in certain people. If you have back pain talk to your doctor to see what treatments may help you before using vitamin B12. Additionally, you may want to consider vitamin B12 as part of your back pain management plan.

Vitamin B12 alleviates back pain in certain people. (Image: GeorgeRudy/iStock/Getty Images)

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin in the water-soluble B-complex family. Vitamin B12 has a number of important roles in the body. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, this nutrient is used for blood cell formation and repair, production of DNA and the maintenance of brain cells. If you are vegan, are of an advanced age or have issues with your digestive tract, you are at heightened risk of vitamin B12 deficiency, the ODS notes.

Evidence

Researchers from the Italian Università degli Studi di Palermo set out to investigate the effects of vitamin B12 supplementation on those with persistent back pain. In this study, published in the May 2000 edition of the "European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences," a group of 60 volunteers with back pain were given either vitamin B12 injections or a placebo. The researchers found that the vitamin B12 significantly reduced the pain levels of most of the research subjects. Importantly, the vitamin B12 injections worked for those with and without a deficiency in this vitamin.

How It Works

The study authors note that vitamin B12 may aid in back pain relief due to its role in the nervous system. Even people with normal blood levels of vitamin B12 may not have enough to produce healthy nerve cells in the spine, the authors note. Supplemental vitamin B12 can help your body replace damaged spinal nerve cells with healthy new versions. Additionally, B vitamins reduce inflammation, a common cause of chronic back pain.

Considerations

If you suspect that low vitamin B12 levels may be behind your back pain, talk to a doctor to see if injections are right for you. Although generally safe, vitamin B12 injections are not safe for everyone. To boost your vitamin B12 intake through diet, add vitamin B12-rich foods such as lean beef, eggs, fatty fish, clams, dairy, tempeh and fortified cereals. If you're vegetarian, some seafood comes with B12, or consider supplementing with vitamin B12, as a vegan should, to ensure you meet your daily intake target of 2.4 micrograms per day.

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