Omega-3 fatty acids [fish oil] for neuropathic pain: Case series – Source: Clinical Journal of Pain, Feb 2010

[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,

• Fibromyalgia,

• 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:]

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