October 1


Is Your Digestive Tract Causing Your Joint Pain?

By Sunny Brigham, MS, CNS, LDN

October 1, 2018

minutes read time


Joint pain is something I hear many of my clients talk about.  For some, it’s a mild, annoying pain at random points throughout the day.  For others, it’s constant and very painful.  What many fail to do is link their joint pain to the foods they are eating.

You see…if we eat inflammatory foods, they don’t just inflame the intestines, we inflame the body.  In this blog, we’ll talk about the link between the foods you eat and the pain you may feel.

Inflammation in the Body

Inflammation occurs when there is damage in the body.  This can be on the surface of the skin, to a particular joint, or internal.  Most people that suffer from inflammation, suffer from unseen inflammation.

This “unseen” inflammation occurs from the stress, exposure to chemicals in the work environment, poor air quality, and the foods that we consume.  I’ve talked about stress in the past and things you can do to reduce your stress.   I can’t change where you live or what air you breathe.  But I can tell you all about food.

When we consume a food the body doesn’t like, it activates a part of the immune system.  When the immune system is activated, cytokines are released.  Cytokines kick of the inflammatory response.  They cause tissue to become swollen.  Inflammation of the intestinal tract leads to leaky gut.  Read more about leaky gut here.

When we have an external injury, we see the inflammation and feel the pain on the surface of the skin.  When we have an internal injury, we don’t always see or feel the injury in a “normal” way.  Joint pain is one symptom of internal (or systemic) inflammation.  Other symptoms include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and the list goes on.

Inflammatory Foods

A common source of inflammation are the foods that we eat.  Yes, inflammation comes from other locations (environment, stress, etc).  But we are focusing on foods in this blog.  We’ve already talked about how inflammation is kicked off in the body.  Let’s chat about what foods do that.

Each individual will react to foods differently.  What I react to is not going to be the same group of foods that you react to.  You can determine what foods you react to with specific testing.  However, there are some common foods that create inflammation.

Common foods that cause inflammation:








Processed Meats



Each time you consume a food your body doesn’t like, you kick off the inflammatory response.  If it’s a food that you eat a lot, you’re going to feel it in other ways.  Some experience bloat, skin itching, or changes to their bowels at first.  Over time, you start to feel that in other places…the joints.

When I have a client that reports joint pain, I go on a fact-finding mission.  I want to know if that joint pain is from a past or recent injury.  I want to know if it is present from morning to night.  Or if the morning is fine but the joint pain builds throughout the day.  Understanding the underlying source of the joint pain helps clue me into what’s going on inside the body.

Now…let’s fix that pain!

How to Reduce Inflammation

When I suspect inflammation in the body with the digestive tract being the source, I offer two treatment options:

  • Food sensitivity testing with gut healing supplements
  • Elimination diet with gut healing supplements

There are pros and cons to both.  But the best thing you can do to reduce inflammation is to remove the source of that inflammation.  For a good majority of people, it’s food-based.  Many don’t want to believe the foods they consume are the source of their health issues.  Some of these foods are healthy as well.  But in reality, foods can cause a lot of issues.

Most of my clients choose testing over elimination due to convenience.  I’ve seen clients test positive to olives, flax, romaine lettuce, lentils, etc.  All foods that are healthy for the body.  All foods that most nutritionists, including myself, will tell clients to eat.  But these foods are actually inflammatory to a specific person.

If you have joint pain that you can’t link to a past injury, I’d look at inflammatory foods as being a source.  Don’t push that pain off as overuse, weight-related, etc.  If it’s not from an injury…look deeper.  Find the root cause (usually food), and remove the source.  The pain will start to go away.  I promise!


Tell me, does inflammation affect you?  If so, drop me a comment and let me know one change you’re going to make over the next week to help your body heal.

  • Sunny, you have just made my day! I have been feeling so bad for so long that I just get used to it and move on each day.
    Starting today, I will be changing what I eat!

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