Life is looking up if you enjoy grapes, peanuts and dark chocolate.
Last month it was announced that researchers at the University of Arizona School of Medicine demonstrated that resveratrol, a compound found in these foods, may be beneficial as a treatment for acute and chronic pain conditions.
Despite advances in the understanding of the basic mechanisms resulting in post-surgical pain, treating incision-induced pain remains a huge clinical challenge. Interestingly, surgery and its less than ideal aftermath can result in chronic pain. In the United States, over 45 million surgeries are performed annually; in up to 50% of these surgical patients, pain and discomfort persists even if the surgical wound has healed completely. The pain can last for over six moths following procedures such as hernia repair, breast surgery, leg amputation, or cardiac bypass surgery.
The researchers, writing in "Molecular Pain," hypothesized that resveratrol, a natural product found in the aforementioned foods, might be effective in the local treatment of post-surgical pain. They reasoned that activators of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) may represent a reasonable treatment option, because AMPK activators inhibit two important pathways involved in the sensitization of peripheral pain receptors.