The Importance of Nutrition as a Lifestyle Factor in Chronic Pain Management: A Narrative Review

J Clin Med. 2022 Oct 9;11(19):5950. doi: 10.3390/jcm11195950.


In everyday clinical practice, healthcare professionals often meet chronic pain patients with a poor nutritional status. A poor nutritional status such as malnutrition, unhealthy dietary behaviors, and a suboptimal dietary intake can play a significant role in the occurrence, development, and prognosis of chronic pain. The relationship between nutrition and chronic pain is complex and may involve many underlying mechanisms such as oxidative stress, inflammation, and glucose metabolism. As such, pain management requires a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach that includes nutrition. Nutrition is the top modifiable lifestyle factor for chronic non-communicable diseases including chronic pain. Optimizing one's dietary intake and behavior needs to be considered in pain management. Thus, this narrative review reports and summarizes the existing evidence regarding (1) the nutrition-related health of people experiencing pain (2) the underlying potential mechanisms that explain the interaction between nutrition and chronic pain, and (3) the role of nutrition screening, assessment and evaluation for people experiencing pain and the scope of nutrition practice in pain management. Future directions in the nutrition and chronic pain field are also discussed.

Keywords: chronic pain; diet; nutrition; nutrition recommendation.

Publication types

  • Review