Can Diet Play a Role in Pain Management?

February 27, 2012

by Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, MS-PREP, HN-BC, adjunct faculty Pain Research, Education and Policy (PREP) program at the Tufts University School of Medicine, and moderator of the PREP-Aired Blog

Can diet be a tool in our pain management arsenal?  According to McGill professor and researcher, Dr. Yoram Shir the answer is yes.  The Pain Research, Education and Policy Program (PREP) was honored to host Dr. Shir on  February 9, 2012 and hear about his fascinating research on the association of pain and diet.  Dr. Shir, director of the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit at McGill University Health Centre, related that moving his lab from Israel to the United States created an unexpected opportunity to study the effect of different standard diets on pain in animal models (lab rats).  The combination of type of protein as well as type of fat suggested an influence on pain in the animals studied.

Exploring the observation of a correlation between diet and pain, Dr. Shir began testing various combinations of protein and fat.  Interestingly, a diet high in soy protein and omega-3 fatty acids appeared to inhibit pain, while a diet rich in canola oil appeared to increase the pain response.  Small pilot studies with human subjects, those suffering from neuropathic pain, have been promising, but larger studies will be needed to further generalize the findings.

The Pain Research, Education and Policy program thanks Dr. Shir for sharing with us his exciting research in diet and pain.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1.    George W Kukurin DC DACAN  |  March 11th, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    Dietary manipulation of the lipid content in food intake has long been recognized to either promote or suppress pro inflammatory prostaglandin synthesis. This can either increase or decrease pain. Also it appears that some fatty acids may bind to cannabinoid receptors and may suppress pain.

  • 2.    Carol Levy  |  March 12th, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    Unfortunately this has been gaining more traction, even for disorders, like trigeminal neuralgia, that more often then not, require neurosurgical or neuropharmacolic action.
    For any population changes in diet can be a help whatever the malady. For those of us in intractable chronic pain simple answers like this, especially when reported in small population study, increases the disbelief that many of us face when we are disabled and debilitated as a result of chronic intractable pain.
    Thank you.
    Carol Jay Levy
    author A PAINED LIFE, a chronic pain journey
    Women In Pain Awareness Group!/groups/111961795481256/
    The Pained Life, 30 years, and counting.
    accredited to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities member U.N. NGO group, Persons With Disabilities

  • 3.    Pamela Ressler  |  March 13th, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Thanks for your comment

  • 4.    Pamela Ressler  |  March 13th, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    Thanks for commenting on the post.

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