Sep 2, 2016

Five Ways to Ease a Gout Attack

If you have gout, you know what it’s like to suffer from a flare-up. Also known as gouty arthritis, a gout attack begins with a burning or itching feeling in your joints. The next sign is redness, swelling, or severe pain in the joint. This is caused by a buildup of uric acid around the joints, which forms uncomfortable uric crystals. This condition can be so painful that anything touching the joint—even a bedsheet—can cause severe pain.

If you are suffering from a gout attack or flare-up, you don’t need to agonize alone or in silence. There are a few things you can do to ease the pain and prevent future flare-ups.

Over-the-counter treatments.

Several over-the-counter treatments can help relieve the pain caused by a gout attack. These nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can lower uric acid levels and treat episodes of inflammation. Some good choices include Aleve, Motrin, and Advil, and, when taken in prescription doses, can be very effective.

Contact Carolina Arthritis for guidance and to learn more about this strategy for your gout attacks.

Change your diet.

Many dietary and lifestyle changes can assist in recovery. Foods high in purines can increase the uric acid in your blood and trigger a gout flare-up. Some of these foods include:

  • Some seafood
  • Organ meats like liver
  • Fatty foods

Fructose-sweetened drinks and alcohol, especially beer, can have a similar effect. If you’re suffering from gout, limiting your intake of these foods is a great place to start. You should also make an effort to drink more water. Allowing yourself to become dehydrated can cause your uric acid levels to rise. Drinking more water will help keep things at a normal level.

[We know the foods to avoid, what about the ones that help manage? Click here for more information!]

Ice, elevate, and relax.

As long as the pain isn’t too extreme, a cold compression or ice pack applied gently to the area can help ease the inflammation. For the most effective treatment, ice the joint for 20 to 30 minutes several times a day and keep the affected area elevated. Another trigger for gout is stress.

While a gout flare-up can put you on edge, it’s crucial to keep calm and do your best to relax. Try watching a movie, reading a favorite book, or catching up with a friend to keep your mind off things.

Steroids treatments.

If you can’t take over-the-counter drugs or if they are not effective, you can try the steroid drug prednisone instead. Prednisone is usually given orally for two weeks, with less given each day to ween the patient off. If you’re hospitalized, it can also be given intravenously.

Make an appointment with Carolina Arthritis.

There are several different gout-specific medications, such as Colchicine, Allopurinol, and Probenecid, and it can be tricky to figure out which one is best for you. This is why we recommend making an appointment with Carolina Arthritis.

Carolina Arthritis’s team of specialized doctors can meet with you to discuss your specific situation and create a tailored treatment plan specific to you. Don’t wait for your next gout attack—contact us today and get the relief you need today.