Can Dietary Ingredients Actually Improve Pain?

A recent editorial accompanied by a series of articles by Pain Medicine, took a look at current practices that the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) utilizes to help their top skilled “Operators” maintain a competitive edge.  These “Operators” include Army Special Forces and Rangers, Navy Seals, Air Force Special Tactics, and Marine Critical Skills Operators. These groups collectively have arguably the most demanding skill sets and specialties and undergo the most rigorous training, so they can execute at the highest level.  However, the toll this takes on the individuals can be extensive.  Physically, many “experience acute and chronic musculoskeletal injuries” that go untreated due to a “perceived lack of time to focus on treatment, recovery, and rehabilitation.”

Often, the injuries can lead to subsequent chronic pain, which Operators typically treat with NSAIDs.  However, these drugs can have severe negative side effects. Therefore, the USSOCOM has developed the “Preservation of the Force and Family” program to “enhance the quality and duration of Operators’ careers” and lives.  This program involves Physical Therapists, Athletic Trainers, strength Coaches, Sports Psychologists, and Performance Dieticians, in order to utilize a holistic approach to preventative and rehabilitative care.

dietary supplements

They are currently looking into alternative pain treatment options, such as changes in nutrition and dietary supplements.  The series of articles that Pain Medicine published focus on “evidence-based recommendations for specific dietary ingredients that might serve as an alternative approach for mitigating chronic musculoskeletal pain.”  

Currently, there is still a lack of sufficiently robust scientific evidence to support definitive health guidelines regarding dietary ingredients and their effect on chronic pain.  However, the review of these articles “attempts to close the gap in knowledge regarding dietary ingredient efficacy and safety, and offers practical, yet evidence-based, recommendations for practice and self-care use.”

For more information, read the full article here: How Evidence-Based Recommendations May Direct Policy Decisions Regarding Appropriate Selection and Use of Dietary Ingredients for Improving Pain