The Functional Medicine Approach Towards Managing Joint Pain and Inflammation
When it comes to joint pain and inflammation, pain and discomfort can be extremely debilitating. We often take our joints for granted until we begin to feel pain in them, it isn’t until then that we realize just how heavily we rely on these parts of our bodies. This is why it is of paramount importance to take care of them in a responsible manner.
Your lifestyle is the number one factor affecting the condition of your joints. For instance, being overweight can greatly increase the strain placed on your joints while performing daily tasks. Obesity also contributes to generalized inflammation, making your discomfort even worse.
A healthy anti-inflammatory diet can greatly aid in your fight against inflammation. Diets that work to fight against inflammation include foods such as tomatoes, leafy greens, nuts, fresh fruits, and many other tasty yet healthy foods. Avoiding foods that are high in sugar or high fructose corn syrup can be crucial to battling inflammation. These ingredients, as well as others such as trans fats, processed meats, and refined carbohydrates, can make your inflammation significantly worse and consequently, your quality of life.
Low impact exercise can assist you greatly if you may be overweight and it has also been shown to improve joint mobility, relieve joint stiffness, reduce pain and fatigue, and strengthen muscles. Exercise can be critical to helping aid your fight in joint pain. A brisk walk every day is a great place to start!
A vast array of herbs and supplements can help fight joint pain as well. For instance, Turmeric has been used for hundreds of years to reduce inflammation. The spice, which is commonly used in foods, is also used as a supplement for inflammation. It fights immune system responses to fight uncomfortable inflammation. Other natural remedies such as vitamin C and fish oil have also been used to fight inflammation.
Application of cold and heat to the affected areas can also be effective, however, the research on how effective it can be is inconsistent. Using cold packs or ice on the inflamed area reduces blood flow, which, in turn, reduces fluid in the tissues and decreases pain and swelling.
On the other end of the spectrum, applying heat to an area opens up the blood vessels, and increases circulation. This causes an increase of nutrients to the area that are essential to the repair of damaged tissues.
These treatments can be used in combination, but it is important to speak with your functional medicine professional before beginning so that they can decide what will work best in your specific instance.