Doctors found that a 56-year-old woman, who had for more than 10 years constantly felt pain in her hands, to the point that she could no longer hold chopsticks anymore, had vitamin C and vitamin D deficiencies.
Chen Jen-yin (陳貞吟), director of the Anesthesia Department and Pain Management Division at Chi Mei Hospital in Tainan, described the case during the Taiwan Pain Society’s annual meeting and international conference in Tainan yesterday.
The patient had sometimes been unable to fall sleep due to the pain, but despite visiting several doctors and taking painkillers, it continued to affect her quality of life, Chen said.
Over the past year, it affected her so badly that she could no longer hold chopsticks or a broomstick, she added.
Chen said that the woman was diagnosed and began taking nutritional supplements, as well as receiving prolotherapy and rehabilitation treatments, and her symptoms were significantly reduced.
The woman is still being treated, she added.
According to data collected since 2013 from about 31,000 people who have received health exams at Chi Mei Hospital, about half of men and 68 percent of women had a vitamin D deficiency, but about 80 percent of the patients visiting the pain management division were vitamin D deficient, Chen said.
While only about 5 percent of those who had received health exams were vitamin C deficient, about half of chronic pain patients had a vitamin C deficiency, she said.
Chen said that people often forget the importance of eating fruit, which is an important source of vitamin C, and many people, especially women, are used to avoiding the sun and wearing sunscreen, which can result in reduced vitamin D production.
A vitamin D deficiency leads to reduced intestinal calcium absorption and poor muscle contraction, while a vitamin C deficiency is associated with a lower pain threshold, she said.
If people have trouble getting enough vitamin C and D from their diet, they should take a supplement, Chen said.
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