Medically Reviewed By: Tom Iarocci, MD
When you have to struggle with the surprising onset of a gout attack, it can be rather unpleasant. The condition often comes on suddenly and without much warning. Of course, if this is your first bout, you will need to see your doctor as soon as possible to confirm the diagnosis, learn about your condition, and settle on a short-term plan. In the meantime, however, there are several essential tips that have been tried and tested by gout-sufferers worldwide.
Advice And Tips For Managing Gout Pain:
There is no magic home remedy, but there are a few things you can do at home to help relieve some of your suffering. Gout tends to affect one joint, and the big toe is a common site. Once the affected joint has become swollen, even the slightest pressure can feel excruciating. So, these tips have a lot to do with minimizing the pain and maximizing the path to healing.
Rest: While you may have a pretty busy schedule, it is extremely important to rest that joint until the attack settles down, and for 24 hours thereafter. The less pressure you put on the joint, the easier it will be to get the inflammation down. You can also elevate the affected joint.
Ice: Ice will be a great way to help reduce the inflammation you have in the affected area. With regular icing you may see a pretty significant reduction in your level of pain and swelling.
Keep it open: By making sure that the affected joint is not enclosed (by tight clothing, shoes, etc., you reduce the amount of irritation you may have to endure. When you have an acute flare up of gout, even the weight of your clothing or bedding can add to your pain.
Hydration: Gout is the result of a build up of uric acid in your body. By drinking lots of water, you can help the body flush it out of your system.
Medication: Chances are that when you visit your doctor, he will be prescribing medication to help relieve the pain and inflammation of your acute attack. Depending on the frequency and severity of your gout, you may also be a candidate for uric acid-lowering medication. If you have a wait to see the doctor, you can also try over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or another type of NSAID to help ease the pain and get a prompt start at battling the inflammation.
Patience: Sometimes the best treatment is just supportive treatment. In many cases, gout will clear up in just a few days, on its own. If you take the above steps, see your doctor, and learn how to eat right, there’s a good chance that once you’ve rid your system of the uric acid crystals, you may minimize your chances of future flare-ups. After the first flare-up, however, it is not uncommon to experience another one within 2 years. Some may go for 10 years or more before it comes again. Other suffer more severely with frequent bouts of gout; in such cases it is strongly recommended that you speak with your doctor about possible therapy to help you find a long-term means of controlling your attacks.
Gout can be a very painful and uncomfortable condition that can be quite debilitating. In some cases, it could even lead to hospitalization. However, for most people, there are simple things that can be done at home that can ease the suffering often associated with the problem. Certain things are considered risk factors for gout such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, malignancy, and diuretic use, so you definitely want your doctor to know if you experience a flare-up—not only to help plot a course for the future but also to cover all of your bases in terms of what may be going on at present with your overall health and well being.