Reducing the Pain of Gout

When you’re beginning to experience gout inflammation and pain, it’s difficult to concentrate on work or other daily activities. Symptoms can last several days or weeks, with the worst pain occurring within the first day or two.

While speaking with your doctor is always the best option, you can take the following steps to alleviate gout pain right away.

Pain Relief Without Medication

Consume Water

When your body lacks water, your uric acid levels increase even higher. Stay hydrated to help maintain normal levels.

Apply a Cold Compress

If your pain isn’t too severe, apply cold compresses or packs to the affected joint to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Wrap some ice in a thin towel and apply it to the joint several times a day for 20 minutes. Don’t apply ice to your feet or hands if you have nerve problems due to diabetes or other causes.

Also, you might be wondering: does Biofreeze help gout? Check here to know how Biofreeze works.

Allow the Joint to Rest

It’s best to rest it until the pain subsides. You’re unlikely to want to move it that much anyway. Raise the joint on your pillow or other soft objects if possible.

Watch What You Eat and Drink

Foods high in purines, like organ meats like liver, some seafood, and fatty foods, can raise your blood’s uric acid level even more. Fructose-sweetened beverages and alcohol, particularly beer, can also be harmful.

Conventional Gout Treatments

example of some 200 mg ibuprofen tablets

Anti-inflammatories

The first step is to neutralize the attack. That’s why doctors frequently prescribe a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) like naproxen or ibuprofen, which reduces levels of prostaglandins, which cause inflammation and pain.

Take double the usual over-the-counter naproxen (Aleve) or ibuprofen (Motrin and Advil) dose for the first two to three days if your doctor approves. Prescription NSAIDs, such as indomethacin (Indocin and Indocin-SR), are also available for gout pain, but they work similarly to over-the-counter medications.

After a few days of double doses, the doctor will most likely recommend a lower dose to prevent further attacks. However, do not take NSAIDs for an extended time without consulting a doctor because they can cause serious side effects like heart problems and gastrointestinal bleeding.

Colchicine (Colcrys and Colsalide)

This drug is a pharmaceutical variant of a traditional gout remedy (retrieved from autumn crocus plants). It is sometimes used to relieve gout pain and prevent acute attacks until other medicines kick in.

Patients on gout medications that lower uric acid levels for the first six months are more likely to develop acute attacks – although the reason for this is unknown. As a result, patients are provided colchicine for six months before discontinuing it. It’s remarkably effective at preventing the proliferation of inflammatory cells.

However, many doctors prefer NSAIDs over colchicine because it can cause unpleasant side effects such as diarrhea and stomach cramps. It alleviates pain, but it makes you uncomfortable.

Steroids

A doctor may prescribe steroid hormones such as prednisone to control gout pain and inflammation in people who cannot tolerate colchicine or should avoid NSAIDs due to liver or kidney disease.

Oral steroids can be taken for a few days and then gradually tapered off. This is because steroids have serious side effects, such as insomnia and nervousness, and increase your risk of infection.

They can also thin bones over time. If gout pain only affects one joint, the doctor may use a small needle to extract fluid and then infuse a steroid into the joint to relieve inflammation.

Probenecid (Benemid and Probalan)

gout presenting in the metatarsal-phalangeal joint of the big toe

Probenecid, a uricosuric drug, increases uric acid excretion by preventing a kidney protein from sending it back into the body. However, doctors will not prescribe probenecid until the acute attack has passed. This is because it has the potential to aggravate symptoms.

The recurrence of gout attacks may significantly rise during the first few months, as with other uric-acid-lowering drugs. Unless you have kidney stones, probenecid is safe for people under 40. Increased urination exacerbates kidney stones.

To reduce the risk of kidney stones, patients taking probenecid must drink at least eight glasses of water per day. Since kidney function declines with age, this gout medication is not recommended for elderly patients.

Allopurinol (Aloprim and Zyloprim)

This older medication, approved in 1964, can decrease uric acid production. Allopurinol is a relatively inexpensive medication with a long track record of efficacy. However, it can cause diarrhea, upset stomach, sleepiness, and more serious side effects like hepatitis or bone marrow suppression.

While taking it, try to drink eight glasses of water per day and avoid alcohol, reducing its effectiveness.

Febuxostat (Uloric)

Febuxostat, approved in 2009, is the first all-new gout medicine in 45 years. It, like allopurinol, is intended to lower uric acid production.

Uric-acid levels must fall and stay under 6 milligrams per deciliter of blood to control gout. Uloric is more effective at lowering levels to less than 6 mg/dL. And if you keep your levels low enough, you can almost completely avoid attacks.

The medication is also more effective at removing tophi, uric-acid nodules that form beneath the skin in chronic gout patients. Although febuxostat appears to have fewer potential side effects than allopurinol, it can still cause joint pain, liver problems, rash, nausea, and cardiovascular problems. It’s also more expensive, so insurance companies will most likely cover allopurinol first.

Natural Gout Treatments

a person’s arm being acupunctured

If you don’t take gout medication, you’ll have more attacks, a higher risk of kidney disease and stones, and tophi knots on your fingers, elbows, and knees. The accumulation of crystals in the joints eventually causes perpetual joint damage. However, some natural gout remedies may alleviate gout pain while reducing the severity and frequency of attacks.

Acupuncture

Getting pricked by needles is usually the last thing you want to experience during a gout attack. However, several Chinese studies suggest that ancient therapy may help with gout pain.

According to a 2009 Chinese study of 60 patients, acupuncture had a 93.3 percent effectiveness rate in relieving pain, compared to 80 percent for gout medications like allopurinol and indomethacin. Furthermore, the acupuncture cluster had no negative reactions, whereas the drug group had 46.7 percent.

How does it function? Acupuncture promotes blood circulation and capillary expansion, allowing small uric acid crystals to break down and carry away.

Acupuncturists might place needles near a painful area, but they do not insert a needle into a joint. At least two to three hour-long sessions per week are required for acute pain until it subsides. Patients with chronic gout should receive monthly or bi-monthly treatments.

What Foods Are Beneficial for Gout?

Gout dietary management focuses on lowering the amount of uric acid in your system and maintaining and achieving a healthy body weight.

The following foods may help keep gout at bay:

  • Fresh vegetables and fruits such as berries, bell pepper, oranges, and pineapple
  • Low-fat dairy products (e.g., yogurt and skimmed milk)
  • Nuts and nut butters (e.g., peanut and almond butter)
  • Grain (whole)
  • Potatoes, whole-grain bread, rice, and pasta
  • Eggs (in moderation)
  • Olive oil and other oils
  • Flax seeds and other seeds
  • Plenty of water and other non-alcoholic and non-sugary drinks