How Diet Affects Joint Pain

Arthritis and other joint pains are common complaints for many of our patients. Joint pain and inflammation can be induced by over-activity, weather and pressure changes, tissue degeneration, or metabolic processes. Regardless of the cause, joint pain is just plain annoying and sometimes debilitating. Did you know that your diet can help manage these symptoms?

woman with joint pain

So why does diet make a difference?

Everyone has heard that old adage ‘you are what you eat,’ and for the most part it can be easy to see how eating certain foods affects our health. Our bodies require three core nutrients, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, and we have complex systems that absorb, convert, and use these materials to build-up our body. Each of these body systems is affected by the ratios and types of nutrients that are regularly consumed.

Unfortunately, when our nutrient ratios are off, the by-products of how we metabolize these foods can lead to inflammation. For example, the typical American diet is far too high in Omega-6 fats, which come from animal fats in beef, chicken, etc., and is very inflammatory for our bodies to process. But, when we have a good balance of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fats (which come from plants and fish), the inflammatory process is reduced. Making a simple change to remove ‘animal fats’ and replace them with ‘plant fats’ can actually play a pretty big role in how much those inflamed joints bother you! Additionally, we tend to hear a lot about anti-oxidants and inflammation. Eating foods high in anti-oxidants gives our bodies the raw material it needs to repair tissue and help heal the body faster. Finally, foods that are high in sugar, especially simple sugars, negatively affect the metabolism of other more complex sugars and fats. To elaborate, food with a high glycemic index (lots of simple/processed sugar) cause spikes and drops in blood sugar, which can cause a lot of damage to our joints and other tissues. Foods with a low glycemic index (more complex/natural sugars) keep our blood sugar levels more consistent, which is much easier on the joints.

Here at Burkhart & Chapp Chiropractic, we can begin to alleviate arthritis and joint pain symptoms by improving alignment and providing other anti-inflammatory therapies. However, we see the best results when our patients are actively managing their diet and lifestyle at home. Our office can help make this easier by providing nutrition counseling and offering supplements that are specifically designed to help provide key micronutrients and reduce inflammation, to help you be the healthiest version of yourself.


Bosma-den Boer, MM et al. (2012). Chronic inflammatory diseases are stimulated by current lifestyle: how diet, stress levels and medication prevent our body form recovering. Nutrition & Metabolism 9(32) 1-14.