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Migraine, Headaches, Pain, and Vitamin D

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Optimal health care can be achieved
only when patients are educated
about their health and patients and
physicians work together as
treatment partners in an
atmosphere of mutual respect.



More and more, we find that there are many health issues that can impact Migraines and headaches. Part of that impact is that anything that makes our overall health better or worse can make us less or more susceptible to our Migraine triggers.

Migraine, headache, and pain management specialist Dr. John Claude Krusz is always looking at such issues. At the 52nd annual scientific meeting of the American Headache Society (June, 2010), Dr. Krusz presented a research poster entitled, "Vitamin D Levels in Migraine and Headache Patients Compared to Patients with Pain Disorders." The poster was based on research conducted in his practice.

The study:

Study objective:

"We studied Vitamin D (25-OH) levels in our Migraine and headache clinic population and compared them with our patients who had chronic pain disorders without and with headache."

Study background:

"Vitamin D levels have been found to be low in musculoskeletal and fibromyalgic pain syndromes but its role is undefined in these clinical conditions. A recent poster at AHS showed low Vitamin D levels in Migraineurs, but included a significant percentage of patients with co-existent pain disorders as well. We tried to separate, as much as possible, headache and Migraine patients from patients with predominantly chronic pain syndromes in order to measure and document Vitamin D levels in both groups."

Study methods:

  • Serum Vitamin D levels [total Vitamin D level= D2 + D3] were drawn on over 500 consecutive new patients with:
    • Migraine,
    • other headache disorders, and
    • other chronic pain disorders of many types, including neuropathic pain.
  • Dr. Krusz compared 100 patients with Migraine, headache, and pain conditions (34 with predominantly Migraines/headache, 33 with pain syndromes) with regard to their Vitamin D levels drawn just after their first visit.

Study results:

  • The average Vitamin D level in patients with predominantly Migraine and mixed headache disorders, including chronic daily headache, was 29.3 ng/.
  • Only 15% had any other pain disorder in their history.
  • This compared to Vitamin D levels of 28.2 ng/ml in a variety of pain patients, with no headache symptoms.
  • No statistical significance was found between the 2 groups of patients, although neither group was compared to persons without either of the clinical conditions.

Study conclusions:

"We conclude that Vitamin D levels are low in both Migraine and headache patients and are comparable to low levels seen in our chronic pain patients. This potential biomarker should be studied in double-blind trials, both for epidemiological and clinical reasons, and for potential treatment effects. Vitamin D may play some yet unknown role in multiple painful and possibly headache and Migraine disorders."

Summary and comments:

The study showed low Vitamin D levels in Migraine, headache, and chronic pain patients against a control group with chronic pain, but no Migraine or headache. Now, more studies are needed to look for the cause of the low Vitamin D levels and what connection the low levels have to Migraine, headache, and pain. Is it that these conditions are exacerbated by the low Vitamin D levels, or are the low levels somehow caused by the conditions? What impact can supplemental Vitamin D have on these conditions? These are questions to be answered by further research.

If you decide to talk with your doctor and have your vitamin D level checked, please note that it's important that the "serum Vitamin D" level be the level that's tested.


Krusz J.C.; Albright J.P.; Cagle J. "Vitamin D Levels in Migraine and Headache Patients Compared to Patients with Pain Disorders." Poster Presentation. 52nd annual scientific meeting of the American Headache Society. Los Angeles. June, 2010.

Medical review by John Claude Krusz, PhD, MD


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Teri Robert, 2010. Last updated July 31, 2010.



 The American Headache and Migraine Association (AHMA)...

a patient-focused, patient-driven organization for patients with Migraine and
other headache disorders and their family, friends, and care partners.
Anyone interested in the concerns or patients with these disorders is welcome to join.

The AHMA exists to EASE the burden of Migraine and other headache disorders through Education, Awareness, Support, and Engagement.


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