When faced with joint pain, people most often turn to medications, exercise, or home remedies or to help soothe the discomfort. While these can provide temporary relief, one thing that is often overlooked regarding long-term solutions is the role of the digestive system– otherwise known as the gut. In fact, your gut houses the majority of immune cells in your entire body, which means that it plays a critical role in your overall health and wellbeing!
So, we turned to our favorite medical expert, our founder Dr. Robert Dean, to get the breakdown on the connection between gut health and joint pain as well as some helpful tips for supporting a healthy gut for those living with chronic knee, hip, or shoulder pain.
“Many people don’t realize that the immune system has a significant impact on our joints,” says Dean. “When the immune system is weakened, this can contribute to increased inflammation, which in turn can increase existing joint pain. And, since we know that the majority of our immune systems are in our guts, then we know that maintaining a healthy gut is an important part of joint pain management.”
So, how can people living with chronic joint pain promote a healthy gut? According to Dr. Dean, the best way is through diet.
“You know the expression ‘you are what you eat’? Well, it’s true on many levels,” says Dean. “The food we consume impacts the balance of bacteria in our guts, and when that balance leans towards bad bacteria or is out of whack, that’s when we don’t feel our best. So, eating foods that promote the balance of good bacteria is one of the best ways to easily promote a healthy gut!”
Dr. Dean recommends a long-term approach to gut health through dietary changes that will have other health benefits such as increased energy, lower cholesterol, and help with weight management goals. Of course, he recommends that you speak with your physician before making any significant changes to your diet to ensure the changes are right for you.
Long Term Dietary Changes to Implement:
- Increase your fiber, micronutrients and phytonutrients by adding more colorful fruits and vegetables to your diet.
- Reduce or remove refined sugars and grains found in foods like cookies, cakes, and breads.
- Improve the quality of your fat intake by adding in foods such as avocados, eggs, fish and nuts.
- Eat better animal proteins by sticking to grass-fed beef, free range chicken and wild fish.
- Avoid processed foods by staying away from boxed or canned items.
In addition to these recommended dietary changes, there are natural and commercial supplements available that are safe and easy to integrate into your daily routine.
Adding Gut Repair Supplements:
- Herbal Treatments such as berberine, and oregano oil, and garlic.
- Enzymes that assist with digestion include betaine for stomach-acid production; lipase, amylase and protease to improve pancreatic function and bile acids or dandelion root to support the liver and gallbladder.
- Probiotics for restoring gut bacteria. If you prefer to get your probiotics through food, low-sugar yogurt is a great and delicious source!
As Dr. Dean mentioned, making these basic and long-term changes to your diet will not only help promote a healthy gut, but will offer more benefits for your overall health and wellness. After all, when you feel your best you will have more energy to enjoy life and the activities you love – which is all crucial when it comes to pain management.
“Diet plays such a huge role in our overall health and wellbeing and it’s one thing that we can completely control,” says Dean. “When patients come to me with chronic joint pain, they often haven’t even thought about the role that food and digestive health can play in long-term care and management. It’s important to educate them on this so they can make better choices to help manage their joint pain as well as their overall health and wellbeing.”
Of course, Dr. Dean points out that gut health is just one factor when it comes to joint pain. While some patients can manage their pain over time through self-care and over-the-counter medications, some pain has progressed so far that patients will need other alternatives.
“Patients whose pain has reached a critical level and have been told that they need total joint replacement surgery often feel that they have no options,” says Dean. “But we offer a real alternative to invasive surgery at AROmotion with our minimally invasive procedure. Anyone facing surgery should contact us for a second opinion. It’s a free consultation that can be done virtually for convenience, too.”
If you are living with chronic joint pain and have been told that surgery is your only option, fill out the form below to request your free consultation before you commit to an invasive procedure with a long recovery period.
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