Weight Loss Could Improve Chronic Pain Among Obese Patients

Calorie-restriction intervention tied to improvements in spatial distribution of pain, depression
Calorie-restriction intervention tied to improvements in spatial distribution of pain, depression

HealthDay News — For obese individuals with chronic pain, a weight loss intervention is associated with improvements in the spatial distribution of pain and comorbid somatic symptoms, according to a study published in the December issue of the Journal of Pain.

Andrew Schrepf, PhD, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted an observational study to examine whether weight loss using a low-calorie diet improves pain, affect, and somatic symptoms commonly associated with chronic pain conditions. Participants were 123 obese individuals undergoing a 12- to 16-week weight loss intervention with calorie restriction. Before and after weight loss, the spatial distribution of pain, symptom severity, depression, and total fibromyalgia scale scores were measured. 

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The researchers found that after weight loss there were significant improvements in pain, symptom severity, depression, and fibromyalgia scores; greater improvement on somatic symptoms and fibromyalgia scores was seen for men versus women. Greater improvement was also seen for those who lost at least 10% of body weight compared with those who lost less than 10%. After the intervention, the levels of the regulatory cytokine interleukin-10 increased.

"Weight loss may improve diffuse pain and comorbid symptoms commonly seen in chronic pain participants," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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