May is Arthritis Awareness Month and for this episode we’re going to dig deep discussing the root of joint pain. Joint pain is one of the most common causes of pain that brings us to the doctor’s office. During this episode we’ll discuss how to approach joint pain, and questions to ask if you’re suffering from joint pain.
-Is the joint pain acute or chronic?
-Is your joint in one joint or several joints?
- Are there other symptoms with joint pain like diarrhea or fever?
We’ll also be discussing common causes of joint pain, including:
We’ll discuss diagnostic techniques such as imaging.
I’ll also share my approach on what lab test can be useful in evaluating joint pain.
We’ll also discuss my “Quick and Dirty” tips for making quick changes in your diet to help heal your joints.
My 3 Day Anti-Inflammatory Meal Plan is an easy way to get started with foods that can help to heal your joints.
Check out my resources on meditation, which can help heal chronic joint pain.
My Reiki Courses are a great way to heal your joint pain, find my Reiki Programs here.
If you are considering using supplements to help with joint pain you can check my Fullscripts Protocol for Joint pain.
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Welcome to the Art of Healing Podcast this is Charlyce and as always, thank you for joining me for today's most recent episode. In the United States May is Arthritis and Lupus Awareness Month. So I thought it would be nice for us to spend some time talking, and getting down deep into the roots of what's causing joint pain, arthritis, pain. And even inflammation. So. I don't know the exact statistics, but I think. In my current practice, nearly a third of individuals come in complaining of some type of joint pain. I'm kind of wavering on this statistics because I feel like it's probably more than half of individuals can make complaining of joint pain. They just noticed a joint pain that's been present for a while. But inevitably, most people come in with some sort of joint pain. Or a back pain, even muscle complaint issue. So getting into why this is and what the body is saying to you is very helpful. Interestingly, you would think that most of these complaints of knee pain, ankle pain, Wrist pain, elbow pain. Are going to be what I would see my patients that are over the age of 16. Honestly, I have a pretty nice spread of patients and I have quite a few people who are under the age of 30. Who come in with a complaint of a newly new joint pain or joint pain that's been present for a year. So it's definitely worth us digging deep and figuring out what's at the root of this joint pain. And what the body's trying to tell us. If you're having some kind of joint pain right now, the first place it helps us start with is how long it's been present. And if there was anything that may have caused it or in inciting factor. So it, this is very general because it can depend on the joint occupation activity. But in general. If you have a painful joint. If the pain has been present for less than a month. Then it's probably an acute pain. So that, that makes a difference when we're trying to figure out what's going on with that pain. If the pain has been present more than four weeks, it's probably still acute, but it just helps to note that duration. Cause particularly some joint injuries such as in the knee. The pain could be present just a few weeks and be severe. It could be present for six weeks and be. Moderate pain that actually might actually be something more severe. Than that acute pain. The next thing to note is if there's anything that you can recall that incited or started the pain. In the lower extremities, such as in the ankle. I always ask patients if they recall twisting their ankle. Any kind of ankle injury. And of course an ankle sprain is the most common ankle injury, but there is a lot more to consider as far as an ankle pain. Especially if there's swelling that's been present, if it's swelling and pain that had been present for weeks on end, or did it start suddenly overnight? In the knees, the same thing. If we know that there may have been a mechanical injury, such as a twist, a twist or a sports activity. Kneeling on the knee doing a DIY project at home with lots of kneeling. Then you wake up the next day and that knee is swollen. And then of course, if there really is no inciting factor, if the pain just seems to have started and nothing. Started it that's worth noting. The next thing to note is the location. So is there. One joint that hurts in only one. Or is it multiple joints that hurt? When you're about to speak to your doctor about joint pain. That actually helps a lot. And think about that really carefully. Is it just your knee or is your knee and your wrist hurting? Or is it just your shoulder? Or is it both shoulders? It is a lot of data to try to integrate, but that makes a difference. Mechanical or localized joint pains typically are going to be more of like an osteo arthritis. Or if a short-lived. A bursitis, the synovitis or tendonitis. Inflammation of the connective tissue of that joint. And especially if it's localized, Whereas pain in all of the fingers, pain in the joints of the hand. Along with stiffness in occurring with other joints that are hurting is starting to sound a little bit more alike in immune mediated, joint pain. So where the pain is, and if it's only one joint. It also helps to think about what seems to make the pain better. What makes it worse? So if the pain is better with rest after a long day of being on your feet, or if you're at work, that's very important to note, particularly in the large joints, like the hips. And the knees. The ankles. Any place has considered weightbearing, which has also the ankles, the knees, the hips. And the lower back. So is that pain better with wrist? Or does it feel better with stretching or movement? Some joint pain actually feels worse with rest. So it's definitely worth noting. If the joint pain is worse in the morning, when you first get up. And it gets better. The more you move those joints, especially if it's in some of the smaller joints, like in the hands, the fingers in the wrist. In. Why that is with certain joint diseases where it's mediated by the immune system. The immune system is attacking the joint. Overnight, there can be a lot of immune system activity and in the morning with movement that can flush outs areas out. So try to note things like when that pain seems to be better, when it seems to be worse. And then of course you'll want to take note of interventions you take. So if you used rest, if you use ice diffuse, elevation, if you took medication prescription or over the counter, or if you took supplements, so you'll want to. Note, all of those things as well. So we've gone over. A fairly short description of how you might describe your joint pain. So now we'll talk a little bit more about the specific types of joint pain. So hopefully this information is helpful. If you've already been diagnosed with a joint disease. Or if you're getting ready to see your, your provider, talk to your clinician about what's going on. So. In the realm of the joints and what could potentially be causing pain the most common cause will be osteoarthritis. And osteoarthritis, although it's commonly associated with age. I don't know the exact numbers, so I'll try to look those up and put them in the show notes. I would definitely say here in the last decade age, isn't the biggest decider with osteoarthritis, unfortunately. So osteoarthritis is a distinct type of arthritis. It's sometimes arthritis people referring to when they say I have arthritis. But there's actually several types of arthritis, joint pain. Osteoarthritis is a combination of mechanisms that come together to create joint destruction. So typically it has a preference for. Load bearing joints that carry all of the weight. So the knees and the hips. But here recently, it can, I've seen it are current patients in the wrist. And in women, very commonly in the hands, in the small joints in the hands. Osteoarthritis involves mechanical damage such that bone can get inflamed. Or may lose its protective coating. So it gets exposed to the immune system. There's another aspect of osteoarthritis in which the immune system is attempting to heal damage, but unfortunately creates waste products, inflammatory products. And things that get stuck in the joint that kind of drive the inflammation more. And then mechanical damage and which. Rough ends of bones that are exposed are actually able to do damage to tendons and connective tissue in other areas. So the sum total of that means that you end up with. Pain stiffness swelling. Very commonly people will describe locking up. Or clicking. So depending on the joint, that that is that joint may lose its range of motion. And then depending on the function location of that joint. The pain can be life altering. So people that have osteoarthritis of the knees will often mark their pain by the distance that they can walk. Before getting pain. People have osteoarthritis of the hip will often describe it the same way, but then also notice. Difficulty with standing up from sitting in, just in general, walking on the hip because it's painful with pressure. Osteoarthritis of the hands is particularly frustrating because when individuals have this. They tend to have pain through out a lot of the hand. Or sometimes one joint in particular is bad and it causes triggering, which means. A finger. Flexes and then actually gets stuck. And it has to be straightened with the other hand. And that's a combination of things that usually relates to having osteoarthritis. Many of my patients come in with joint pain, but it's a different quality than osteoarthritis. What they'll notice is stiffness. Stiffness that's worse in the morning, or if they've been seated for too long, possibly pain all over. So for some people, this is pain in every single joint of their. So pain in the wrist and the elbows and the shoulders and the knees when they may even notice back pain. And with those individuals, they may also notice other changes, especially in their energy, especially in their skin. They may even notice mood changes. Like feeling depressed. And in those type of joint pains, it does help to know the timing. So there are some individuals who'll present with diffuse sorry, joint pain, all over the body, diffuse joint pain. And they might notice very clearly it occurred after having. So there's a possibility that joint pain may be was called post-infectious arthritis, in which there is something that caused it, an infection in the lining of the stomach or the intestines food poisoning. And the immune system was activated to fight that off. But now the immune system's got an even bigger fight, or it believes it does. The infection is gone, but the immune system's triggered and it begins to look for another threat and it turns and starts to attack the joints of the body. So for those individuals, very commonly have history of, you know, diarrhea after eating something somewhere, the diarrhea's gone and now they're just super tired and they have joint pain all. Some people notice pain all over not feeling well, and that's when it gets difficult. When we may have to start to really get down to the root and do some detective work because they're having generalized inflammation. It appears the immune system is turning and it's starting to attack their joints. Or sometimes maybe this is a disease process of something else and the immune system's just being activated and it hurts if this process is happening really quickly. Sometimes it's viral. So for some people having a bout of influenza, coronavirus, something similar, adenovirus they present. What's called arthralgia, generalized joint pain, and it's rapid nonsense, and it's just a warning sign that the immune system's being activated to fight off a viral threat or a bacterial threat, something similar. But in those cases, that's where that timing that I was talking about helps to know. So this joint pain that's all over the body, did it start three days ago? Three weeks ago? Three months ago? Three years ago. It's really good to try to process that and then really try to process if that joint pain seems to have started with anything else. Did it start with another illness? Did it start with a life change, a move, something like that. Those kind of clues can be helpful. So once she's gathered some data about what's going on with your joint pain. The next step is you do want to get in and talk to someone about it. A lot of my patients feel like when they present with joint pain, that. It's not that important. Probably shouldn't be discussing it. It's no big deal. I can shake it off. And, you know, maybe a lot of times this joint pain is a minor in new jury or a sprain or something like that. But the longer I've been in practice, I got to tell you that it just really seems like when people have had joint pain. It ends up being a clue that something else is going on. What's frustratingis that the clue, what it ends up being is not always obvious or sometimes. The. The, whatever it was, the big picture syndrome comes up much later. My general advice is talk about it, document it. Let's get the awareness on it. Let's get some data going about it. Let's just try to be very thorough on both ends on the patient in mind. So that if it's minor, we take care of it. No big deal, but if it was a sign that something else was going on. We can at least have that dialogue open and be ready to respond. When dealing with joint pain, the most important place to start is the history gathering that information. As much detail as you can gather. I can often reveal a lot more clues. Than any sort of fancy imaging. So no mean the time any of the joints that hurt when it started other things that may have caused it. Noting things that make it worse. Things that could make joint paint worse could be movement or wrist. Do certain foods make it worse. It's surprising how often. When we start to dig a little deeper, how often certain foods are making a joint pain, worse. And of course what seems to help their pain. For certain joints, imaging is going to be helpful. Not for every joint. And when I'm working with my patients, I'm very clear that on some joints, if it hasn't heard for very long in the dirt, just a number of factors. Imaging such as an x-ray. It may be helpful, but it may not be. In, particularly if we're talking about, we've been mostly focusing on joints, don't hinge, joints and elbows. And those things, but if we're talking about back pain, Imaging can be helpful if we're concerned about a more serious diagnosis. Such as someone that's had a history of cancer. Now they're having back pain. Or someone who's had a history of severe osteoporosis and now they're having back pain. But if you don't necessarily have those risk factors, Imaging of the low back may or may not be helpful. What I tell my patients is when we're looking at a low back pain, we start to think of imaging. If we think a surgeon might be needed. So for roughly 90%, 95% of people. Even a back pain that severe is not going to get to that point. In large joints, such as the knee. And the hip x-rays are especially helpful. If the joint pains have been present for a long time and it's starting to change your life, which means it's starting to change how you do things. When you do things, how often you do things, then x-rays are helpful because it's time to decide if a specialist is needed. Or if this area of pain could be managed. Holistically. If you still have wiggle room to manage it with acupuncture or physical therapy or working with your chiropractor. Or physiotherapy. Or if you're going to do a combination of all those. So if you're dealing with a severely painful knee, that's been present for a couple of years and is now made it so that you don't do your two Milwaukee, it's now a quarter of a mile.. Now that x-ray is helpful because you can decide, do I want to try some physical therapy while I'm waiting to see the orthopedic surgeon? Do I want to get the orthopedic surgeon's opinion while I try some supplements and some other things, why you playing out, you know, So imaging can be helpful, but it's not always the most important when evaluating joint pain. Really, your story means much more when we're dealing with joint pain. Beyond imaging looks probably a good idea to ask if it would be helpful to check lab work, particularly if that joint pain has been present more than a few months. And the lab work. That's usually a good place to start with. Is making sure something like anemia is not present. Making sure that markers of inflammation are not present. And making sure that immune system markers, so making of antibodies against your own tissues are not present. And I've got a couple of resources as far as what those specific labs are. So I'll put those in the show notes because I don't want to say too many terms and you know, use too much jargon, but blood work should be considered particularly if that pain's been there more than. Two or three months, particularly if the pain's been there more than six or seven months, then it's probably time to think about. Looking at the blood work to see if there's clues there. So next steps are things you can do to manage the joint pain. So I'm going to give some of my tips that I share with patients. That help with joint pain? No matter if it's pain that just started. Joint pain that's been around for many years. Joint pain. That's been mild for many years and suddenly got worse. They're always a few simple steps that you can take right off the bat that can help. That are really worth doing because this joint pain is telling you something's wrong. Something's inflamed, something's injured. And it's combination of the immune system and the defense and repair system, the musculoskeletal system. That are driving your experience of pain. So the first thing I recommend and often have to remind myself is you want to make sure you're consuming the nutrients. And the phytonutrients and the things that you need from your food, so that when you rest your body can make repair of those damaged tissues of those damaged joints. So my quick and dirty tip that I give in the clinic when I'm working with patients and, you know, I know they've got a lot to remember is if the food doesn't look like the source don't eat it. So essentially trying to take out foods that are heavily processed. And. So when you're shopping, those are foods that are in the center of the grocery store. They don't look too much like the source. So like potato chips. Look pretty different from potatoes. Or You know, Twinkies stolen. Don't look like the source of what they came from, sugar and flour. It's going to look like the sugar cane or the wheat that they came from. I'm trying to have a diet that mostly consists of the food that looks like the source. So that would be in the produce out. As far as meats. That depends. Some people feel really good. If they're having a lot of inflammation, especially acute inflammation, if they reduce their meat consumption or even eliminate their meat consumption, particularly if the joint pain is being driven by. The immune system. Taking out meat for a period of time often helps some people heal. You can get the protein you need from plant-based foods. And a lot of times those plant-based foods supply what it is that your body's wanting to rebuild bone or rebuild synovium, connective tissue and tendons. So the quick thing is, you know, switch up that diet, get away from the food that don't look like. Doesn't look like. It came from its source. And in the show notes, I'll put a resource I have, which is a quick start to an anti-inflammatory diet. Healthy movement is always a good idea. How you get the healthy movement in depends, but my quick and dirty tips, and whenever I'm working with patients is in general. Walking is a good place to start. Walking gets good movement offers just enough cardiovascular challenge that you benefit. Without the high-impact of running or jogging. One of my favorites is yoga. Yoga's always a good way to get gentle mobility into the muscles, distress out some around the muscles working with a qualified yoga instructor when it's possible or using an online resource, if you're doing yoga. Just to remember that. As you're doing it, you don't have to meet the instructor where they are. So if you're new to it, You should not be as flexible as those around you in the class, or if you're watching online that you should probably be stiffer, but returning to it frequently can definitely help. In addition to healthy movement. Managing your stress. So of course managing your stress, allows your nervous system to tune itself more to healing in a way from the stress response, which can. Worse than pain, especially if that pain is chronic because your joint pain has been chronic. So lowering your stress with meditation, there's an easy start and there's plenty of resources on my website to help you get started with that. Lowering your stress levels, using sound healing. You may have noticed Sarah, a couple of episodes now with an amazing sound healer, a Kathy Harmon Luber. You should download one of her episodes and you can test out how you responded to a sound healing session. You can use those kinds of modalities to help with paint. In combination with any medications or supplements you're taking. And a Reiki. Reiki is a healing modality that you can actually learn, even if you're not feeling well, because you can be doing your studies on your computer, on your phone. You can take a course and have the healing modality of let go. And I often will bring that out to people to consider Reiki when they're not feeling well, because you can start doing your own energy healing. And when you start to do your own, which you absolutely can. A lot of times you get insights as to what's really happening. What's going on. And you can start healing even faster. When working with chronic pain supplements can definitely play a role. And I do have a list of supplements that I will frequently share with my patients. That are through full scripts. So full scripts. Is an online dispensary that offers high quality supplements. That are priced amazingly. And if you sign up through my dispensary, you can actually enjoy additional savings right away, as well as additional savings throughout the year. You're free dish. Once you set up your account, which setting up your account is free, you can shop for supplements. You may already be buying. But to get them at a great discount when you get them through full. Full scripts. And if you sign up through my dispensary, you can actually see some of my personal recommendations for particular illnesses. So I do have our protocol for musculoskeletal health. Joint and pain arthritis. And. With my protocols. I routinely make updates depending on pricing availability personal experience experience working with my patients. So I do have a few in my full scripts protocol, which if you'd like to see the whole thing I will put in Lincoln to show notes, to sign up. There is one particular supplement. Which is collagen from vital proteins. Which is a great way to get some extra Mino acids and protein into your diet. It can be solved into drinks. That's an excellent way to help calm joint pain on a regular basis and is well tolerated by most of us. And then there's a supplement called Sam II, which has multiple benefits. One is which it can help to improve the mood. Then it can actually help with joint pain. Again, supplements can be helpful, but like everything we've discussed, it shouldn't be the whole of your. How you're going to deal with joint pain, but and if you'd like to see what else is in my full scripts protocols, simply sign up, signing up. Doesn't obligate you to buy, just gives you access to their. Catalog and it's free to sign up. And once you sign up through my full scripts Link. You'll be able to see my recommendations on musculoskeletal health also have recommendations on fibroids. I've made a, I've got a protocol that helps people that are preparing for major surgery. That's one that I like to recommend to people if they want to get their health. Supported even more going into surgery. So. Dealing with chronic joint pain. The things that you want to take away is try to get some data as far as the joint pain. So try to think of things of when it occurred, anything that caused it, things that make it better, make it worse. Making note of if it's one or multiple joints. And make a note of, you know, how long it's been present. And no matter where you are in your workup, because the workup for joint pain can actually get pretty complex. You can start making changes to your nutrition that can support joint health, no matter what's going on right away. And then as you're doing your workup consideration for supplements, that might help. Particularly if you know, you've got a rheumatoid arthritis, other supplements you want to consider. And then finally you can check out full scripts. So if you've had severe joint pain and you know, you're going to be getting a joint replacement. You can check out my recommendations for ways to support your health going into that surgery. So, thank you so much for listening today as always. It's a pleasure to connect, check your show notes, to find out more information about me, about healing arts. And check your show notes as well. If you would like to get a copy of this podcast sent to your email so that you can easily download it and listen to it later. Thank you so much and we'll connect soon. Bye-bye.