Joint pain is marked with stiffness, aches, pain and reduced mobility. It can occur in one or more joints, be one side or both sides of the body. It can occur at any age in any gender in people all around the world. There are many types of joint pain and more than one type can occur in one person at a time.
Factors in Joint Pain
Lifestyle, dietary, genetic, metabolic, and gut health related factors all contribute to joint pain. This means there is plenty of natural opportunity to assist the return to reduced pain in regular activities of daily living. Assessment includes imaging, various blood tests, physical exam, and comprehensive stool analysis. Food sensitivities, gut microbiota and lumen health, genetic risk factors, and immune modulation are all important considerations in a wholistic individualized treatment plan.
Types of Joint Pain
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune condition marked by joint pain on both sides of the body and results in an aggressive destruction of joint cartilage and bone. It is a complex disease caused by dysfunction in multiple metabolic chemical processes within the body. Basic disease screening blood work and specifically Rheumatoid Factor (RF) can be run to help determine if RA is a contributor to your joint pain.
Osteoarthritis (OA): The most common form of arthritis in the general population. Wear and tear on joints, especially hips and knees, commonly as comes with age, excess weight, overuse or a lack of collagen, vitamin D and other nutrients in the diet. Immune system-mediated inflammation is thought to have a causal role in osteoarthritis, triggered by endotoxins produced by an imbalanced gastrointestinal microbiome. There are currently no approved disease modifying drugs for OA. That is okay. There is plenty to consider with lifestyle, diet and nutraceuticals.
Gouty arthritis: Elevated uric acid from overconsumption of high purine foods like alcohol, pork, asparagus, mushrooms and shell fish. If you look at uric acid crystals in a live microscopic blood analysis, they look just like shards of broken glass. Extreme pain in a single joint, usually the base of the big toe, but can also affect the feet, fingers, wrists, elbows, knees or ankles. It is characterized by rapid onset, usually comes at night, relieves in 5-10 days, with potential to return. Often the joint becomes shiny red, purple, swollen, hot and stiff. Possible to also have a fever high as 39 °C (102.2 °F), could have chills. Chronic low-grade elevation in blood urea or urate can contribute to everyday joint pain. Blood tests can be run on levels of urate and urea and general kidney function.
Psoriatic arthritis: Approximately 15% of patients with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis; inflammation where the tendons or ligaments insert into bone. It is usually one sided and affects small joints of the hands and feet. Rarely it is on both sides of the body mimicking a rheumatoid-like or spondylitis-like disease. Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition and therefore inflammatory, metabolic, microbiome/gut health factors all must be considered to test and monitor treatment.
Joint pain is a factor of wear and tear, but also chronic inflammatory conditions that often stem from compromised gut health. It is good to know there are natural ways to help reduce pain and improve mobility.
Whether from injury, wear and tear, or chronically stimulated inflammation, joint pain may be naturally addressed through lifestyle, diet, nutraceuticals and physical therapy including acupuncture, cupping and vibrational application. Contact Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND for your individualized assessment and treatment plan.