How To Get Gout Relief At Home
This article was co-authored by Siddharth Tambar, MD. Dr. Siddharth Tambar, MD is a board certified rheumatologist at Chicago Arthritis and Regenerative Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. With over 19 years of experience, Dr. Tambar specializes in Regenerative Medicine and Rheumatology, with a focus on Platelet rich plasma and Bone marrow derived stem cell treatments for arthritis, tendinitis, injuries, and back pain. Dr. Tambar holds a BA in Economics from State University of New York at Buffalo. He earned his MD from State University of New York at Syracuse. He completed his Internship, Residency in Internal Medicine, and his Rheumatology Fellowship at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Dr Tambar is board certified in both rheumatology and internal medicine. He also holds Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Diagnostic and Interventional certifications from the American College of Rheumatology and the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine.There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 464,327 times.
Treating A Gout Attack
The methods of stopping an attack of gout can vary depending on the severity of pain. Your orthopedic physician may give you a shot of corticosteroids. They may also prescribe other types of medications that are specifically designed to treat gout. To ease the pain during a gout attack, rest the joint that hurts. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine may also be prescribed to help reduce the pain. The good news is that following treatment, relief from the pain and discomfort of a gout attack often begins within 24 hours. It is important to still make an appointment with your orthopedic physician even if your pain from gout is gone. The buildup of uric acid that led to your gout attack can still harm your joints. An orthopedic physician will help you get relief from the pain of gout attacks and learn ways to prevent flare-ups in the future.
*The blog is for general information and educational purposes only regarding musculoskeletal conditions. The information provided does not constitute the practice of medicine or other healthcare professional services, including the giving of medical advice, and no doctor-patient relationship is formed. Readers with musculoskeletal conditions should seek the advice of their healthcare professionals without delay for any condition they have. The use of the information is at the readers own risk. The content is not intended to replace diagnosis, treatment or medical advice from your treating healthcare professional.
Heat Therapy Helps Relax Stiff Joints
Learn different ways to ease joint pain using warm water or a hot compress.
Heat Therapy Helps Relax Stiff Joints
Learn different ways to ease joint pain using warm water or a hot compress.
Looking for a natural way to get your joints moving in the morning? Close the medicine cabinet and try an age-old remedy that has stood the test of time: heat.
If you have a chronic condition like fibromyalgia, arthritis, or lower back pain, try heating things up. Soaking in warm water or applying a heated compress is one of the oldest, cheapest, and safest forms of complementary therapy. Research has shown that heat treatments can loosen stiff joints and relieve achy muscles.
Here is how it works. When you warm up a sore joint or tired muscle, your blood vessels get bigger. This allows more blood, oxygen, and nutrients to be delivered to the injured tissues. Better circulation means more relaxation for those stiff muscles and joints.
Stay away from heat if you have an acute injury or are having a flare. If you have a sudden onset of swelling and redness from overdoing it yesterday, you are better off using cold treatments for a few days. Cold has the opposite effect of heat: it reduces blood flow and decreases inflammation.
Here are a few simple ways to heat up your daily routine.
Here are a few simple ways to heat up your daily routine.
Take a Steamy Shower
Apply a Warm Compress
Dip your hands or feet in melted paraffin wax . Wait for it to cool and peel the wax off.
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Practice Mindfulness And Meditation
The good news: A gout attack is self-limited and will clear in time. In the meantime, according to the Arthritis Foundation, meditation, yoga breathing, mindfulness, and guided imagery can help you deal with the pain.
Important Considerations When Using Ice To Help Gout Pain
1) Dont apply ice direct to your skin.
Wrap ice in a towel or thick cloth, before touching bare skin. Alternatively use a handful of frozen vegetables but again dont apply direct to skin, wrap it in a towel first.
If you dont do this, then the ice/ frozen goods are likely to stick to your skin causing freezer burn and real damage. Cold therapy should never hurt!
Dont follow the picture if you try it in real life the ice will stick to your skin and start burning)
Another option is just to buy one or two cold compresses that you can put in your freezer and re-freeze after each time.
These are both cleaner and much easier to use generally.
2) Dont use your ice for more than 30 minutes at a time. You can re-apply an ice treatment 8 or 10 times a day if needed but just not for too long in any one stint.
3) If you suffer with any of the following, please avoid using ice on your joints
- Allergies to cold conditions
- Nerve damage in the gout-affect area
- Raynauds syndrome
Essential Advice If you are applying ice or a cold wrap to your gout affected joint, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE DO NOT PRESSURE WRAP IT!
As a pain specialist writing this article, I know only too well that gout is very sensitive to touch. And people pressure wrap their gout thinking no pain, no gain. Sorry if you try that with gout, its just pain!
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Leading A Gout Free Life
In order to avoid gout attacks, your gout physician may prescribe a medication to reduce the buildup of uric acid in your blood. In most cases patients take this medicine for their entire life, but there are things that you can do reduce the chances of needing a lifetime of medication. Pay special attention to what you eat. This can help you manage the buildup and uric acid and reduce the frequency and duration of your gout attacks. Eating appropriate amounts of a healthy variety of foods to keep your weight under control and to get the nutrition you need. Try to avoid frequent or daily meals consisting of meat, seafood, and alcohol. As always you should drink plenty of fluids, especially water.
Whats The Outlook For People With Gout
Untreated gout can lead to permanent joint damage. The buildup of uric acid in the joints and soft tissue is called tophus. Some people with gout can also develop other health problems, such as severe arthritis, kidney stones and heart disease. Its important to discuss your symptoms with a healthcare provider.
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A Study Which Proved A Correlation Between Gout And Weather
I was able to discover a study which was conducted in the United States, in Boston more precisely and which involved 619 people. All of them were aged between 21 and 88, so the average life age was 54 years. The scientists discovered that weather or better said temperature and humidity significantly affect gout.
The first thing they discovered is that when the temperature is increased to 30 degrees Fahrenheit, the risk of a gout attack increases for impressive 40%. On the other hand, when the temperature is decreased or better said below 30 degrees Fahrenheit, the risk of a gout attack decreases by 25-35%.
Humidity also affects gout and it is important to know that the risk of the attack is increased when the humidity is below 60% and the risk is decreased when it is higher than 70%.
All of this can be explained as a result of sweating or losing the body fluids. It is important that you stay hydrated and to maintain the body temperature. As the body goes up, our bodies will have to sweat, which will literally increase the level of uric acid and decrease the amount of water in the body. As such, we are at a higher risk of a gout attack.
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Inflammation Of The Joint Lining
If you have injured the joint recently and it suddenly becomes painful again, the thin layer of tissue lining the joints and tendons may be inflamed, a condition called traumatic synovitis.
It usually does not cause any redness or heat.
You should be able to manage injury-related swelling at home with anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen, an icepack and rest.
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How Is Gout Diagnosed
Your health care provider will get your complete medical history and do a physical exam. She may run these exams and tests to diagnose gout:
- Ajoint fluid analysis to see if uric acid crystals are present. This is the only certain way to diagnose gout.
- Tests to measure uric acid levels in blood and urine
There are many conditions with symptoms similar to gout. Be sure to see your doctor for a diagnosis.
How Can Cannabis Help
People have been using cannabis to treat gout for millennia, as Chinese civilizations did in 2900 BC and merging into western medicine around the 17th century, according to Dr. Ethan Russo and a clinical review about cannabis and pain management. Thanks to the connections between joints and the ECS, cannabis could do a lot for people struggling with gout. One of cannabis reasons most cited for use has to do with its effectiveness in alleviating pain, swelling, and inflammation. Cannabis has compounds called cannabinoids and different types of cannabinoids benefit arthritis patients in different ways. One example from Dr. Russo points out that 9-tetrahydrocannabinol works as the pain reliever while cannabichromene and cannabidiol work their anti-inflammatory power to help reduce swelling, inflammation, and tenderness.
THC, CBD, and CBC are all cannabinoids that are found in cannabis and they work together, enhancing their individual effects when combined. This phenomenon has been coined by Dr. Russo and is known as the entourage effect.
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Maintaining Body Temperature Is The Key
The main thing you will have to consider is that body temperature must be maintained all the time. You will have to consume as much of water as possible and to make sure you are well-hydrated. Furthermore, you should use air conditioning at your home and in your car at all times. Basically, you will reduce the chance of sweating or losing body fluids.
If you live in an area where higher temperatures are frequent, you will want to cool down your body and to consume cold beverages. If you live in an area where the temperature is low, you will have to use hot beverages. Also, I discovered through the years that electronic blankets work perfectly in keeping a gout attack away from me.
The bottom line here is to maintain constant body temperature at all times. This will significantly decrease the risk of a gout attack.
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What Is Gout Know The Signs And Risk Factors
4 Minute Read
Medically Reviewed by UPMC Orthopaedic Care
Gout is a potentially debilitating form of inflammatory arthritis that causes pain, redness, stiffness, and swelling in your joints. More than 8 million people in the United States have gout.
The condition usually affects one joint at a time. About half of all gout attacks begin in the big toe, but it also can occur in the ankles, heels, knees, wrists, fingers, and elbows.
Although gout can cause pain, it can be managed with proper treatment.
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Using Cannabis To Help Treat The Excruciating Symptoms Of Gout
by Chane Leigh
A type of arthritis known as gout is common, complex, and can affect anyone. Patients who suffer from gout are plagued by sudden and severe spikes of pain, swelling, and more. This condition affects certain joints but is often the joint at the base of the big toe. Gout is triggered by arthropathy which is a joint disease. Luckily, the pain and inflammation from gout in joints are directly linked to the bodys endocannabinoid system .
Causes Of Gout Flares
Gout, a type of inflammatory arthritis, happens when levels of uric acid a normal byproduct of metabolic reactions in your body become too high, says Kenneth Saag, MD, professor of medicine in the division of clinical immunology and rheumatology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. When this substance cant be sufficiently dissolved and excreted in the urine, it starts to crystallize, and those crystals deposit themselves in joints where they cause severe inflammation.
Certain risk factors, such as having a family history/genetic predisposition or having chronic kidney disease, can affect the development of gout over time. Taking certain medications , a high alcohol or sugar intake, or eating high-purine foods can trigger a gout flare. Read more about what causes gout here.
If youre new to gout, your doctor will need to confirm the diagnosis, as it can sometimes masquerade as other ailments that impact the joints . Your doctor will likely use a needle to remove some fluid from the swollen joint, then examine it under a microscope to confirm that it contains uric acid crystals.
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Take Your Prescription Drugs
If you’ve had a gout attack before, your physician may have prescribed drugs to treat attacks. This may be your first line of defense or you may decide to use them only when NSAIDs fail to relieve your pain.
Prescription medications to treat gout include:
- Prednisolone oral tablets, which has been shown to work as well as NSAIDs and often doesnt cause the same stomach upset. Prednisolone is a type of corticosteroid and does carry other potential side effects, particularly if it is taken for longer than the recommended 5 days.4
- Colchicine, which has been shown effective in reducing pain and inflammation if taken in the first 24 hours of an attack. Always follow your physicians instructions regarding dosing to decrease your risk for potential complications and side effects.
Opioid painkillers, such as codeine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone, are not recommended to treat the pain caused by gout.
Hot And Cold Compresses
Switching between a hot compress for three minutes and a cold compress for 30 seconds on the affected area can help reduce pain and swelling that occurs during a gout attack.
In most people, a first acute gout attack comes without warning, and there arent any other symptoms of high uric acid. Prevention efforts for gout are focused on preventing future attacks or lessening their severity.
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Tips For Applying Ice
When you are applying ice to an injury, it is typically recommended that you apply the ice to the area for twenty minutes. Then take the ice off of the area for twenty minutes and repeat with the ice on the injury. You can continue this cycle until the tenderness, swelling, or inflammation goes away.
Ice packs are great, but if you do not have one you can substitute a bag of frozen vegetables such as peas or corn. You can also place ice cubes in a baggie. It is generally recommended that you do not put the frozen pack directly on your skin. Wrap the baggie in a washcloth or paper towel before you apply.
A quick response is the most important thing that you can do for any injury. The sooner that you apply ice to the area to reduce inflammation the higher the chances the injury will quickly heal. Additionally, ice can prevent or limit any internal bleeding. You may also want to use ice after any high-intensity exercise in order to reduce or prevent inflammation.
When To Contact A Doctor
A person should contact a doctor if they experience any symptoms of gout.
As gout flares can last for days or weeks, a person should contact a doctor if their symptoms last for a prolonged period of time. Treatment options are more effective when a person receives them in the early stages of a gout flare.
The doctor will also be able to confirm whether or not gout is present. They will carry out a physical examination of the affected joint and may also request other tests, such as:
- a blood test, which measures the level of uric acid in the body
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How Is Gout Treated
Gout can be effectively treated and managed with medical treatment and self-management strategies. Your health care provider may recommend a medical treatment plan to
- Manage the pain of a flare. Treatment for flares consists of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, steroids, and the anti-inflammatory drug colchicine.
- Prevent future flares. Making changes to your diet and lifestyle, such as losing weight, limiting alcohol, eating less purine-rich food , may help prevent future attacks. Changing or stopping medications associated with hyperuricemia may also help.
- Prevent tophi and kidney stones from forming as a result of chronic high levels of uric acid. Tophi are hard, uric acid deposits under the skin. For people with frequent acute flares or chronic gout, doctors may recommend preventive therapy to lower uric acid levels in the blood using drugs like allopurinol, febuxostat, and pegloticase.
In addition to medical treatment, you can manage your gout with self-management strategies. Self-management is what you do day to day to manage your condition and stay healthy, like making healthy lifestyle choices. The self-management strategies described below are proven to reduce pain and disability, so you can pursue the activities important to you.