Gout is a form of arthritis that causes inflammation and pain in the joints, similar to that experienced with rheumatoid arthritis.
Gout is caused by an accumulation of uric acid in the blood, resulting in crystals building up in a joint, usually the big toe, leading to swelling, redness, warmth, and extreme joint pain.
Despite being the most common form of inflammatory arthritis, this condition has traditionally been viewed as an illness that only affects older, affluent men. However, it is estimated that one to two out of every 100 people in the UK currently suffer from gout. Anyone can develop gout, regardless of their diet. Mostly, it is caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. When gout flares up, the pain can be intense.
Although there is no cure for gout, there are steps you can take to lessen the severity of the pain and inflammation it causes. Today, we will discuss measures to quickly curb the pain of a gout attack as well as possible indicators that indicate one is looming.
6 Remedies for Easing a Gout Attack
Gout can cause immense discomfort, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks such as standing or walking. This is often due to the intense pain and swelling around the base of the big toe, which can be unbearable. You can attempt some of the following home remedies to get relief from a sudden gout attack.
1. Take Anti-Inflammatory Medicine
It is ideal to have anti-inflammatory medicines handy for managing gout attacks. You can take three types of medications for some relief. Some of them are OTC (over-the-counter), while others are prescription-based, which your doctor might recommend. These include:
- Colchicine: Taking Colchicine for gout within the first 24 hours of an attack is known to be effective in reducing pain and inflammation. It is crucial to adhere to your doctor’s instructions when determining dosage to minimize any potential risks or side effects.
- NSAIDs: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen or ibuprofen can help ease pain caused due to gout. Avoid medicines containing acetylated salicylates (like aspirin) without your doctor’s recommendation. This is because a study by the NIH stated that gout risk was increased among patients who took low-dose aspirin. Hence, always make it a point to ask a doctor before taking an OTC for gout.
- Corticosteroids: Patients with gout can be given corticosteroids in the form of an intra-articular injection into one or two affected joints, or systemically in the form of oral medication.
2. Apply Ice on the Inflamed Joints
Cold therapy may provide considerable pain relief by reducing inflammation and diminishing pain signals. If this therapy works for you, you can use the cold pack intermittently throughout the day for 10-20 minutes at a time.
3. Raise the Affected Joint
Gout leads to swelling and pain, notably in the feet, hands, knees, and ankles. To aid in relieving this, raising the affected joints can help blood and liquid flow away from the joint and back toward the heart. Combine this with ice, compression, and rest as a part of the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) method.
4. Maintain a Balanced Diet
A diversified, nutrient-rich diet with limited processed foods may help reduce uric acid levels and the risk of gout flare-ups. Plenty of vegetables and fruits that are high in antioxidants are known to be beneficial for gout patients as their antioxidant properties help reduce inflammation.
Also, watch out for particular foods to avoid with gout, including meat and other high-purine food items.
Also Read: Grapefruit Diet: Good or Bad?
5. Drink Enough Water
Hydration cannot give you quick relief, yet not having enough water intake is known to be linked to the formation of uric acid crystals. However, drinking an adequate amount of water can help you clear these crystals from your body.
Gout patients should ensure they consume enough fluids, as drinking adequate amounts of water in the 24 hours cycle before a gout flare is linked to fewer recurrent gout attacks.
6. Reduce Stress
An increase in stressful situations may aggravate gout symptoms. Although it can be hard to eradicate all sources of tension, the following ideas could assist:
- Exercising if an ache does not restrict motion
- Requesting a break from work
- Keeping a journal or reading a beloved book to divert your mind from stress
- Practicing meditation
Moreover, getting enough rest could help in reducing stress.
Signs you are About to Get a Gout Attack
Flare-ups of gout can come on quickly, usually in one area, such as the big toe, but they may affect other joints like the ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, or fingers.
Symptoms of a gout flare-up may include:
- Joint pain
- Decreased mobility
When to See a Doctor?
If the pain of a gout attack persists beyond 48 hours, contact your doctor for other therapies. Additionally, treatments are available to prevent gout attacks from occurring. Frequent episodes of gout can raise the likelihood of further attacks. Thus, controlling it from the outset is essential. Consult your physician to determine if medications to put a stop to frequent gout attacks are suitable for you.