7 Best ways to Deal with Painful Gout Attacks
As anyone who has experienced gout can tell you, it’s an extremely painful condition that has a huge impact on a person’s daily life. Gout attacks often occur without any warning and make it hard to walk, sleep, and take part in any type of physical activity. Being hampered by such a painful health condition also has a negative effect on relationships and emotional well-being.
What is Gout?
A gout is a complex form of arthritis that brings on sudden and acute attacks of pain and inflammation in one or more joints. The affected joint can become so swollen and tender that even having loose clothing on it can be excruciating. It’s also not uncommon for the area to become red and hot to the touch.
Gout is caused when there is too much of a substance called uric acid in the body. Uric acid is produced naturally by your body when it breaks down purines, a chemical compound found in your body and in some foods and drinks. It is typically broken down and passed through your kidneys and urinary system without issue, but if there is an excessive amount of uric acid it can crystalize and pool in your joints, creating a painful build-up.
Symptoms of Gout
The most common symptom of gout is intense joint pain, most often in the big toe. It can also cause pain in other joints like the knees, ankles, elbows, fingers, and wrists.
Other symptoms include:
- Swelling and inflammation
- Difficulty moving the joint
- Stiffness in the joint
- Redness or a purple tongue to the affected area
- Lingering pain for days or weeks after the attack
7 Ways to Deal with Painful Gout Attacks
- Apply Ice to the Joint: Ice can greatly reduce the pain and inflammation caused by gout. Use ice for 10-15 minutes at a time, giving your skin a break in between from the cold.
- Elevate the Joint: Elevating the affected area helps relieve pain and pressure on the joint so keep it propped up as much as possible.
- Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help your body flush the uric acid out of your system. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sugary drinks as these can make your gout worse.
- Rest Your Feet: Stay off your feet as much as possible and keep them comfortable with big, roomy slippers or by wearing socks with a hole cut out if your toe is swollen.
- Avoid High Purine Foods: High purine foods can intensify a gout attack so avoid shellfish, anchovies, herring, trout, haddock, bacon, turkey, and organ meats.
- Take an NSAID: Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Naproxen are very effective at relieving gout pain. Don’t take aspirin or any other medications that have acetylsalicylic acid in them as they can make your gout worse.
- Take Your Prescription Drugs: Depending on the severity of your gout, your GP may have prescribed you painkillers such as Colchicine Tablets to take during an attack. You should take these if your NSAIDs haven’t worked and only as prescribed by your healthcare provider.
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