Immediate Gout Pain Relief: What Are Your Options
Generally, you can take simple steps to get the pain and swelling under control. Examples include ice, compression of the joint and rest from sport. Also, you need to keep well hydrated and avoid alcohol.
Medications from your doctor can help. Anti-inflammatory tablets such as ibuprofen can stop an acute attack if taken early. Similarly, a drug called colchicine can stop gout in its tracks if taken in the first 24 hours. Often, the dose of colchicine is one tablet three times a day decreasing to twice a day after a week as the pain settles.
An Inside Look At Gout
Gout is triggered by the crystallization of uric acid within the joints. It happens like this: Your body produces uric acid from breaking down purines, which are formed by the body and found in certain foods. Uric acid enters your blood and passes through your kidneys into your urine.
However, sometimes your body produces too much uric acid or excretes too little. This causes uric acid to build up and form needle-like urate crystals in a joint or the surrounding tissue. The result: a sudden, painful flare-up.
The large joint of the big toe is the most common affected area, followed by the side of the foot and ankle. Other hot spots include the knees, hands, and wrists. Most episodes last approximately seven to 10 days.
While gout can occur at any time, it is most likely to strike at night or early morning. The main reasons for this are believed to be lower body temperature and nighttime dehydration. “Crystals are more likely to form in lower temperatures, and dehydration can prevent excess uric acid from being flushed from the body,” says Dr. Shmerling.
Illustration: Scott Leighton
How Does Diet Impact Gout
Though diet isnt the only factor that leads to gout, it can play a role. To know why, its important to understand what causes gout in the body .
Gout occurs when an excess of uric acid in the body crystallizes in the joints, most commonly in the big toes, fingers, wrists and knees. These sharp crystals cause sudden swelling and are the source of the pain associated with a gout attack.
Uric acid is produced naturally when the body breaks down purines. Most purine is produced inside the body, though purines are also contained in some foods. Normally, uric acid doesnt cause problems because the body is able to secrete it easily through urine. However, some people produce too much uric acid or are unable to secrete enough of it. In these cases, the result is gout.
Though the body produces uric acid naturally, making gout largely unavoidable, consumption of foods rich in purines can exacerbate the problem. In fact, one study found that high purine intake was associated with five times greater risk of recurrent gout attacks .
In addition to foods rich in purine, those with gout should also avoid foods with lots of added sugars and refined carbs. Though more research needs to be done, reducing glycemic index seems to correlate with lower uric acid levels .
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Do Not Stop Taking Medications On Your Own
Heres what our experts have to say about common medications used to treat gout:
If you are otherwise healthy, you should not stop taking your gout medications. And, like always, treat gout flares quickly, says Dr. Fields. Its like a book of matches if the whole book is lit, its hard to put it out. One match is easier to put out, so start treatment early.
Home Remedies For Gout Flares
While you taking medication to fight the pain and inflammation during a gout flare, there are a few other simple gout home remedies you can use to ease the discomfort. Rest is important try to keep the impacted joint higher than your heart. Ice may also be helpful, because it brings down swelling. Research shows that ice is particularly soothing for gout if youre dealing with a different type of arthritis, a heating pad may be a better choice.
Some people also say that eating cherries or drinking tart cherry juice helps during a gout flare. While studies have shown that cherry lovers may be less likely to have frequent gout flares, its not clear whether loading up on this fruit during an attack will make an immediate difference. Cherries may be helpful because theyre rich in antioxidants, and tart cherries may help lower uric acid levels .
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Safe Movement During A Gout Flare
Gout is caused by a build-up of high levels of uric acid in the body that forms microscopic crystals. These uric acid crystals can settle in your joints, often in your big toe at the middle joint or where your toe connects to your foot. A build-up of uric acid crystals can also settle in your midfoot joint and your ankle, creating severe pain that is sharp, may be visibly swollen, and may even look red and feel warm to the touch.
These lower extremity joints are weightbearing joints, so movement such as walking is difficult and very, very painful when someone is in a gout flare, Dr. Iverson says.
A typical gout flare can last up to two weeks, though it can start to feel better quickly when treated with anti-inflammatory medication.
When youre in the midst of a gout flare, Dr. Iversen recommends reducing weight on your feet and other weightbearing joints by using a walking aid, such as a cane, that you hold in the hand opposite your affected foot in order to unload the joint.
Unloading the joint relieves the force put on your joint, which can reduce inflammation and allow you to move about for your daily activities, she says. You can also use ice and cold to reduce inflammation and relieve pain, but this should be based on your personal tolerance as the joints can be very sensitive.
How To Get Rid Of Gout Fast
Gout is a painful type of arthritis that feels similar to the pain experienced with rheumatoid arthritis, as both diseases cause inflammation in the joints.
Gout is caused by a buildup of uric acid in the blood.
When the body cannot get rid of the excess uric acid, that buildup ends up accumulating as crystals in a joint, such as the big toe.
This creates swelling, redness, warmth, and severe joint pain in the affected area.
This condition has historically been seen as a disease that only affects old, wealthy men.
Since gout can be caused by genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors, anyone can get gouteven if they eat what would typically be deemed a healthy diet.
Attacks and flare-ups of the condition can be painful.
While there is no cure for gout, there are things you can do to get relief from the pain and inflammation.
In this article, Ill talk about ways to get fast relief from a gout attack, treatment options for these flare-ups, and warning signs that an attack may be coming.
Ill also tell you when its best to talk to your doctor or another healthcare provider about gout symptoms.
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Helpful Tips For Gout Flare Up
As a registered nurse, I have taken care of patients in excruciating pain.
For example, I have administered morphine to patients post-open heart surgery. I have tended to patients with broken bones. I have cared for patients with pancreatitis.
What rivals that pain?
A person experiencing a gout flare-up.
In addition to seeing patients during a gout flare-up I have seen multiple family members shoulder through flare-ups.
Over the years, Ive learned a few ways to get through the gout flare-up and today, Ill share these tips with you.
Why Do I Suffer From Gout
One word: hyperuricemia. Or, in other words, increased uric acid in your blood. This is the reason why your joints are painful and inflamed. Uric acid is a normal product in your body it is a substance that breaks down purines in your body which are found in certain foods that we eat, in addition to being found in human cells. When your body overproduces uric acid, youre at risk for developing gout. But, why would your body overproduce uric acid?
The triggers of hyperuricemia include:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Eating large amounts of red meat and shellfish
- Drinking sugary sodas
It is these types of triggers that can create the hyperuricemia, which can result in gout. When you overproduce uric acid, your kidneys have to work harder to flush out the extra uric acid out of your bloodstream, as they would normally do.
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Recovery After A Gout Flare
Gout flares usually come on suddenly, often in the middle of the night, and are very painful. This form of arthritis strikes when sharp crystals from excess uric acid in the body form in a joint, such as the big toe or knee. The symptoms of a gout attack are severe , redness, tenderness, swelling and warmth. Recovering from a gout attack generally takes 1 to 2 weeks, but there are treatments to help you feel more comfortable and get you back on your feet.
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Why Do Gout Attacks Occur
The simplest explanation is due to high levels of uric acid. If the level is 5 mg/dl or higher, you can expect a gout attack. Some people can even record extremely high levels of the aforementioned acid and it may reach up to 18 mg/dl. If this occurs, you can expect a permanent joint inflammation so wheelchairs are mandatory!
The main point here is that you must keep your uric acid level at 5 mg/dl or lower. Thats why it is important to have regular tests in order to determine if the therapy actually working. If it is, then there is no need for you to feel scared. There wont be a gout attack. On the other hand, if the uric acid level is too high, you will have to start a new therapy. I dont have to tell you that the test is performed by a doctor who will measure the uric acid level and the elimination of its crystals in the joints. If they are not eliminated on time or in proper amounts. The therapy will have to be increased, all in order to protect you from pain and gout.
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Gout Primary Prevention Guidelines: Tips On How To Prevent & Control Painful Gout Flare Ups
Gout is an excruciating and painful type of arthritis that has been increasing in prevalence over the last 20 years. According to a study conducted in 2011, hyperuricemia and gout has significantly increased, affected more than 8.3 million American adults, of which men are 4 times more likely to develop the disease than women.
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Health Conditions Responsible For Gout Flare Ups:
Sometimes, stress due to health conditions like pneumonia or medical procedures such as visiting the hospital or undergoing a surgery may also increase your uric acid levels. If you are visiting the doctor or have fallen sick or are going to the hospital for a surgery, make sure that you tell your doctor that you have gout.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Gout
Any joint can be affected by gout, but it usually affects joints towards the ends of the limbs, such as the toes, ankles, knees and fingers.
Signs and symptoms of gout include:
- severe pain in one or more joints
- the joint feeling hot and very tender
- swelling in and around the affected joint
- red, shiny skin over the affected joint
Symptoms develop rapidly over a few hours and typically last three to 10 days. After this time the pain should pass and the joint should return to normal.
Almost everyone with gout will experience further attacks at some point, usually within a year.
Read more about the complications of gout.
Tips For Preventing A Gout Flare
Do you feel unexplained, intense pain in your big toe? Does even the weight of your sheets against your toe cause pain? If so, you may be one of the 8 million Americans who suffer from gout. While this form of arthritis often seems to come and go at random, here at Podiatry Hotline, we understand the root causes of gout and can help you prevent future flare-ups.
Arthritis often impacts us as we age, and gout is no different. The condition typically develops in men between the ages of 30-50 and in postmenopausal women. While gout is a form of arthritis, its aggravated when the level of uric acid in your blood rises above normal levels and the acid starts to crystalize in your joint. These acid crystals bring severe pain, inflammation, and a decrease in your range of motion.
Gout can impact just about any joint in your body, but it seems to affect the big toe joint most often. In many cases of gout flare-ups, the toe gets so sore and sensitive that shoes and even socks get hard to wear. Many of our Mission Viejo, California patients tell us that even the pressure of their sheets and blankets is enough to cause sharp pain.
While you cant necessarily eliminate gout from your life, there are things you can do to reduce the amount of uric acid in your blood and, therefore, decrease your risk for gout pain and inflammation. To help you overcome this painful condition, weve gathered our five top tips for preventing gout flare-ups, all of which you can try from home.
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Celery Or Celery Seeds
Celery is a food traditionally used to treat urinary issues. For gout, extract and seeds of the vegetable have become popular home remedies.
Experimental use is well-documented, though scientific research is scant. Its thought that celery may reduce inflammation.
Adequate celery amounts for treating gout arent documented. Try eating celery many times per day, especially raw celery sticks, juice, extract, or seeds.
If purchasing an extract or supplement, follow label directions closely.
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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Risk Factors For Gout And Diabetes
Many of the same things can make your chances of having gout or diabetes go up. You may be more likely to get them if you:
- Are overweight or obese. If you carry extra fat on your body, youâre more likely to have both gout and type 2 diabetes.
- Drink too much alcohol. Moderate amounts of alcohol — one drink a day for women and men over 65 and two for men 65 and younger — may actually lower your chances of getting diabetes. But too much can affect how your pancreas releases insulin, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. More than two drinks a day can also up your odds of gout.
- Have a family history of them. If one of your family members has had gout or diabetes, youâre more likely to get these diseases, too.
- Have other health problems. High cholesterol and high blood pressure are linked to both conditions.
How Will Gout Affect Me
Attacks can vary from person to person. Some people only have an attack every few years, while others have attacks every few months.
Without medication attacks tend to happen more often and other joints can become affected.
Having high urate levels and gout for a long time can lead to other health problems, including:
- narrowing of the arteries – which can lead to an increased risk of stroke or heart attacks or other heart problems
- osteoarthritis, which occurs when the urate crystals and hard tophi cause joint damage.
- an increased risk of developing kidney disease or worsening of the condition if you already have it
- kidney stones
- an increased risk of some cancers, especially prostate cancer
- mental health problems, including depression
- underactive thyroid
- erectile dysfunction in men.
If you take medication to lower your urate levels, and have a healthy diet and lifestyle, most of the damage and complications caused by gout can be stopped.
Treatments for gout are incredibly successful. There are two main parts to treating gout, which are:
- treating the acute attack
- treatments to prevent future attacks.
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Take Care Of Yourself
Get other health conditions under control. Gout is linked with high blood pressure, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and kidney disease. If you have any of those problems, get treatment.
Ask your doctor if you need to make changes to the medications you take. Aspirin, diuretics for high blood pressure, and drugs for people whoâve had an organ transplant can trigger gout. Your doctor can help you find other alternatives.
Drink more fluids. You may lower your odds of gout if you drink at least eight glasses of fluids a day. Make sure that at least half of that is water.