A shocking 1 in 4 U.S. adults suffer from joint aches and pains—according to a report in Vital Signs from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).[1] That equates to 54.4 million Americans. Even more surprising is that most of these people are not old—they are under the age of 65 and active in the workforce.

Joint aches and pains limit daily activities in as many as 24 million Americans. These people have trouble with things like holding a cup, lifting a grocery bag, walking to the car, bending over, or kneeling down. Gentle physical activity, like walking, swimming, or biking, can reduce the symptoms by 40%, but many people do not do this. Pain medications, like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or opioids, are widely used. Unfortunately, these medications create unwanted side effects and (in the case of opioids) addiction.

The medical term for joint pain is arthritis, but many different medical conditions can cause joint stiffness, swelling, and pain. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus (SLE), and fibromyalgia are some of the most common. The first step to figuring out the best treatment is a proper diagnosis. Once a diagnosis is made, we can begin to unpeel the layers of the onion to determine the underlying cause.

At the Care Group, PC, we aim to treat the whole person and the root cause of disease. Pain medications only mask symptoms. Arthritis, by definition, is a condition of inflammation (-itis comes from the Latin suffix meaning inflammation). There are many ways we can decrease inflammation in the body, including dietary changes, exercise, and targeted nutritional supplementation.

If you are experiencing symptoms of joint pain, stiffness, or swelling, our team of functional medicine experts is here to help. We may discover that the inflammation in your body stems from a leaky gut; we may discover that it stems from dietary habits that don’t serve you; or we may discover that it stems from stress. You can learn more about the link between leaky gut and systemic inflammation here. Whatever the reason for your pain, we will design a comprehensive and personalized protocol to help you move through life with greater ease.

Call our office at 303-343-3121 for a one-on-one consultation today. We look forward to hearing from you!

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[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vital Signs: Arthritis in America. Updated March 24, 2017.

About the Author: Dr. Gerard Guillory, MD is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and has published two books on Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). In 1985, he opened The Care Group, PC. Today, his clinic is a Primary Care facility that is a hybrid of functional and traditional medicine treating patients with digestive disorders, autoimmune disease, and other conditions. You can learn more about Dr. Guillory here.