Can Metformin Help with Pain Reduction?

Can Metformin Help with Pain Reduction?

Quick overview of what we’ll cover in this blog post:

  • Recent studies on Metformin and pain reduction
  • How Metformin reduces pain and its impact on future research
  • What this means for you and how AgelessRx can help with Metformin

The various benefits of Metformin have been the subject of research efforts for decades, and one that we’ve enthusiastically discussed in our blogs since our inception. As more research is published, more potential benefits seem to emerge in tandem, spawning even more research to confirm these new discoveries and expand Metformin’s already overwhelming value.

It should come as no surprise, then, that pain reduction is emerging as one of these potential benefits of Metformin.

Metformin & Pain Reduction

For years, researchers have observed how Metformin has successfully reduced pain, both in animal trials and in clinical data. Not only has Metformin been shown to reduce neuropathic and inflammatory pain in mice, but it’s also been associated with lower levels of pain in retrospective studies.

However, only recently have studies been launched to confirm those results in humans.

An influential 2021 cross-sectional study sought to finally show the positive effects of Metformin on both recent and chronic pain by analyzing the data of nearly 22,000 patients. This study showed that patients taking Metformin were less likely to report musculoskeletal pain (back, knee, hip, neck, and/or shoulder pain), either recent or chronic, as compared to those who didn’t take Metformin.

The results concluded that patients on Metformin were:

  • 91% less likely to report recent back pain
  • 87% less likely to report chronic back pain
  • 91% less likely to report recent knee pain
  • 87% less likely to report chronic knee pain
  • 92% less likely to report chronic neck/shoulder pain

It’s worth noting, though, that this study wasn’t without its limitations: only patients with type 2 diabetes were considered, while hip pain was not shown to be significantly reduced.

Still, this is a crucial finding, as well as a catalyst that will likely incite more comprehensive studies in the future. In fact, a subsequent publication has already suggested Metformin as a potential treatment for chronic pain, which also offered an analysis of the mechanisms behind Metformin and pain reduction.

How does Metformin reduce pain?

To explain, we need to break down an enzyme known as AMPK.

Adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is something of an energy regulator for our bodies, playing a vital role in insulin signaling and the metabolism of glucose to balance energy with available nutrients. For example, when our cellular energy reaches low levels, such as when we have low blood sugar, AMPK is activated to restore balance. Metformin is a useful activator of AMPK because it can cross the blood-brain barrier.

AMPK activation affects neural plasticity, which is the ability of our nervous system to modify itself, which can potentially affect certain aspects of what we feel and experience, like pain. You probably see where this is going.

To induce its effects on neural plasticity, AMPK inhibits the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), a protein that also affects neural plasticity. The signaling pathway associated with mTORC1 is thought to affect certain nociceptors, which are sensory receptors for painful stimuli.

The fact that only some pain receptors are affected may help explain why hip pain was not shown to be reduced in the 2021 study above.

Putting Pain to Paper

To put it simply:

  • Metformin activates AMPK
  • AMPK inhibits mTORC1
  • mTORC1 may activate certain pain receptors

In this way, Metformin may reduce pain. Easy, right?

So in response to whether Metformin can help with pain, current data seems to suggest that it can.

It’s important, though, to recognize that this cross-sectional study is correlative, meaning that we still have work to do to show causation. This, then, will be the objective of subsequent studies, and why also the literature needs to catch up to this relatively recent insight. So if you’re wondering, “Why aren’t more people talking about this?” That’s why.

But scientists are already exploring the potential benefits of Metformin on pain reduction, particularly in relation to fibromyalgia and diabetic neuropathy, and wider studies are likely to follow.

So those taking Metformin can rest comfortably with the knowledge that the latest literature supports promising results for Metformin and pain reduction. And those curious about Metformin can confidently check off “pain reduction” on its growing list of potential benefits.

To learn more about Metformin and its diverse health benefits, click here.

Note: The above statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.