Gout can strike at any time, anywhere. It can wake you up in the middle of the night, making the bed sheets feel more like a blanket of knives. It causes pain, redness and swelling of the joints and when an episode strikes, it may be best to take matters into your own hands. The next time a gout flare-up occurs, try some of these home remedies to relieve the pain.
Gout is caused by a build-up of uric acid in the joints. When too much uric acid is present in the blood, it will crystallize and collect in the joints, causing pain, inflammation and redness in the affected area. But how does excess uric acid build up in the first place?
Uric acid is a by-product of purines, a substance found in many foods including meats, seafood and even some vegetables. While avoiding these foods can help to prevent gout flare-ups, some preliminary research has shown that some fruits may also be able to ease the symptoms of gout. Although more research is needed, it certainly can’t hurt to incorporate these fruits into your diet during a flare-up:
Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee have been linked to lower uric acid levels as well, so you may want to have an extra cup in the morning to relieve gout pain. If you prefer tea, steep some thyme, which can remove uric acid crystals from the joints, in boiling water.
(For a list of foods to avoid with gout, read List Of Gout Foods To Avoid.)
Oftentimes, a little bit of spice can go a long way in reducing the symptoms of gout. But you don’t need to ingest it in order for it to work. You can also try these old-fashioned plasters made from spices and water:
Gout can develop in any joint in the wrists, fingers, elbows, knees and ankles. When a flare-up does occur, it’s important to keep all pressure off the joint so as not to make the pain worse. That means staying off your feet if the pain is in your legs or toes and not leaning on or lifting anything heavy if the pain is in your arms or fingers. During a gout flare-up, which can last anywhere between 3 and 10 days, be sure to take these precautions:
Since cold temperatures can exacerbate gout flare-ups, it’s important to keep your extremities warm. It’s especially important since the area that is most commonly affected by gout is the big toe. According to Discovery Health, 75 percent of people who have gout will experience it in their big toe. For that reason, it’s important to protect your toes by wearing socks and comfortable shoes. If your shoes are narrow, they can pinch your toes, making the gout pain worse.
When all else fails, it may be in your best interest to take a nonprescription pill. Ibuprofen can provide some relief and is recommended over aspirin, which can worsen symptoms when taken in low doses. If you prefer a natural alternative, take a fish oil supplement, which can reduce inflammation. Be sure to avoid nonprescription diuretics as they can prevent you from excreting uric acid. (To learn more about managing pain caused by gout, see Gout Pain Management: Guidelines And Recommendations.)
So the next time your gout flares up, use these options to help relieve symptoms in your own home. Keep in mind, these tips on how to relieve gout pain at home are not meant to substitute medical care from your physician or professional health care practitioner.