The Critical Role of Nutrition Care to Improve Pain Management: A Global Call to Action for Physical Therapist Practice

Joe Tatta, Jo Nijs, Omer Elma, Anneleen Malfliet, Dawn Magnusson

Research output: Contribution to journalScientific review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Physical therapists have unique education in the comprehensive biopsychosocial assessment and treatment of chronic pain and its mechanisms. Recently, physical therapists have raised awareness regarding the impact of nutrition on promoting health and managing noncommunicable diseases. Robust evidence supports the implementation of nutrition in physical therapist education and practice. Of particular interest for the physical therapist are investigations which use dietary interventions for the treatment of chronic pain. Yet physical therapists have received little guidance regarding their role in nutrition care for pain management and may pass on opportunities to counsel their patients on the connection between nutrition and pain. Therefore, a clinical paradigm shift and unified voice within the profession is called upon to encourage physical therapists to develop tailored multimodal lifestyle interventions which include nutrition care for the management of chronic pain. This perspective describes evidence supporting the implementation of nutrition care in physical therapy practice, supports the role of nutritional pain management for physical therapists and encourage the use of nutrition care for primary, secondary, tertiary, prevention, health promotion and wellness related to chronic pain. To achieve these aims, this perspective offer suggestions for how physical therapists can: 1) enhance clinical decision making, 2) expand professional, jurisdictional, and personal scope of practice, 3) evolve entry-level education, and 4) stimulate new investigations in nutrition care and pain science research. In doing so physical therapists can assert their role throughout the pain management continuum, champion innovative research initiatives, and enhance public health by reducing the impact of chronic pain.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberpzab296
JournalPhysical Therapy
Volume102
Issue number4
Early online date3 Jan 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022

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