[Note: neuropathic pain is pain and tenderness without detectable tissue injury, or pain persisting long after tissue damage is resolved. Malfunctioning nervous system signaling is the cause of pain.]
Objective: The aim of this case series study was to investigate and report on patients with neuropathic pain who responded to treatment with omega-3 fatty acids.
Methods: Five patients with different underlying diagnoses including:
• Cervical radiculopathy,
• Thoracic outlet syndrome,
• Carpal tunnel syndrome,
• Burn injury…
…were treated with high oral doses of omega-3 fish oil (varying from 2400 to 7200 mg/day of EPA-DHA).
Outcome measures were obtained pretreatment and posttreatment. These included validated surveys (short-form McGill Pain questionnaire, DN4 neuropathic pain scale, Pain Detect Questionnaire), objective clinical tools (Jamar grip strength, Lafayette dynamometry, tender point algometry) and EMG Nerve Conduction studies.
Results: These patients had:
• Clinically significant pain reduction, [and]
• Improved function…
…as documented with both subjective and objective outcome measures up to as much as 19 months after treatment initiation.
No serious adverse effects were reported.
Conclusions: This first-ever reported case series suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may be of benefit in the management of patients with neuropathic pain.
Further investigations with randomized controlled trials in a more specific neuropathic pain population would be warranted.
Source: Clinical Journal of Pain, Feb 2010;26(2):168-72. PMID: 20090445, by Ko GD, Nowacki NB, Arseneau L, Eitel M, Hum A. Canadian Centre for Integrative Medicine and the Physiatry Interventional Pain Clinic, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. [E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org]