Omega-3 supplementation and chronic pain


Between 10% and 25% of the world’s adult population has chronic pain, which is a pain that persists over time (for weeks, months, or even years). It can be mild or intense, intermittent or continuous, and may have many different causes: it may arise from a past injury, it can be a consequence of an ongoing cause (ear infection or arthritis, for example), or there may also be no clear cause. The most common types of pain are low back pain, headache or migraine, and neck pain. In any case, chronic pain affects the quality of life of the person who suffers from it, because in addition, other health problems (such as fatigue, sleep disturbance, decreased appetite, and mood changes) often accompany this type of pain, and anxiety and stress may also be elevated.

Furthermore, pain is a subjective experience, there is no test that can measure it; chronic pain depends on the severity of the underlying cause, sociocultural factors, genetic aspects, psychological factors, and physiological aspects (which can be modulated by altering nutritional habits). In the field of pain therapy, interest in the role of nutrition in pain development and its management has increased, and it has been observed that some supplements would likely improve the outcomes of analgesic therapy and result in considerable improvement of quality of life. Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids could improve chronic pain.