Joint pains and joint swelling are not a pleasant sensation to have, to say the least. The causes can be varied, the presentation can be varied, it could be an osteoarthritis or it could be a rheumatoid arthritis, it could have appeared seemingly suddenly, or it could be an insidious onset.

Osteoarthritis is more of a wear and tear with some inflammation, whereas Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune response. Lupus is another autoimmune affliction, as is also psoriatic arthritis, which can cause joint issues too. Rheumatoid Arthritis usually attacks the small joints in your hands and feet whereas Osteoarthritis more likely affects more the weight-bearing joints like hips and knees. Treatment options depend on the type of arthritis as well. Mainstays of treatment are usually anti-inflammatories and analgesics, locally applied or systemic.

Physiotherapy and exercise are usually of immense help. What we fail to take into cognizance, however, are some root underlying causes. Increasing evidence is emerging on the association of conditions like leaky gut syndrome[1], or a disruption in the gut microbiome[2], and consequent inflammatory increases with joint symptom exacerbations, and of of consequent autoimmune responses leading to conditions like Rheumatoid arthritis, which may in some cases emerge into awareness post a stomach flu like infection, some of the causative organisms of which have been linked to autoimmunity.

So apart from just treating them symptomatically, it would make sense to also look for and address these underlying conditions, and cases with consequent relief to these measures attest to their role, apart from also improving your general well-being.

A multi-pronged approach is usually taken tailored to your unique situation after a full comprehensive consult. This could aim to heal your gut if needed to control inflammation and also modulate your immune system. Appropriate treatment modalities are used for this with dietary changes where necessary, nutritional supplements, and vitamins and mineral supplementation as required. Anti inflammatory foods and supplements as well as herbal products can be very helpful. A holistic treatment plan is built in consultation for initial treatment and future maintenance. This approach attempts to address root causes as well as symptoms, rather than just a treatment and suppression of symptoms. Acupuncture and exercise are useful. The sooner these causes are addressed the better, as with progression, damage will keep increasing.

So if you do have these joint pains and swellings, do see a naturopath or functional medicine practitioner sooner rather than later to see if something that could possibly improve your well being and give you significant relief in these conditions is being missed.

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1. Guido G, Ausenda G, Iascone V, Chisari E. Gut permeability and osteoarthritis, towards a mechanistic understanding of the pathogenesis: a systematic review.

Ann Med. 2021 Dec;53(1):2380-2390. doi: 10.1080/07853890.2021.2014557.
PMID: 34933614; PMCID: PMC8725942.
2. Taneja V. Arthritis susceptibility and the gut microbiome. FEBS Lett. 2014
Nov 17;588(22):4244-9. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2014.05.034. Epub 2014
May 27. PMID: 24873878; PMCID: PMC4246018.