Self-Managing Gout Pain With Medical Treatment and Self-Care Strategies
Gout is an extremely painful form of chronic inflammatory arthritis. It generally affects only one joint at a time (usually the large toe). There are only certain times when gout symptoms may become severe, called flares, and only then, times when gout occurs in a remission state (no symptoms occur). Recurrent bouts of gout will eventually lead to gout arthritis, a more serious form of arthritis caused by repetitive gout attacks.
Allopurinol is an anti-inflammatory and pain relieving drug found in a variety of gout medications. It was first developed to treat patients with arthritis and liver disorders. Allopurinol was initially thought to be safe for long term use because it had no systemic side effects (if it has any), and the drug had been studied extensively in patients with acute gout attacks. However, there were reports of serious, even life threatening side effects when Allopurinol was taken at doses higher than the maximum recommended dosage.
Because Allopurinol works by reducing the synthesis of uric acid in the body, it reduces the amount of purines that the body can deposit into the joints. Purines are what cause gout; they are present in the majority of protein foods and animal meats including pork, beef, venison, goose, duck, etc. Therefore, a reduction in the number of purines in the diet can significantly reduce the risk of gout attacks. This is one of the reasons that patients with gout are advised to avoid alcohol as much as possible nano fast.
Gout attacks can occur in any joint in the body. The most common site for gout attacks is the big toe. The affected toe may swell to the point that walking on it is painful or impossible. In more severe cases, the tophi can lead to permanent joint damage, resulting in the inability to use the joint. The only cure for this condition is to avoid gout attacks.
The symptoms of an acute gout attack tend to manifest almost immediately after the first attack. Symptoms usually begin within several days of the initial attack and may continue for many weeks. The most common symptom is redness of the skin around the affected joint. This often spreads to other joints of the body, causing more pain and stiffness.
If the pain does not stop, one of the first things that you should do is see your doctor. Your doctor will perform a physical exam to determine if there is indeed a gout problem. You will probably be given a blood test to see if you have high levels of uric acid in your system. Diagnosis and treatment plan will be developed based upon your medical history and results. However, before your doctor makes a final diagnosis, he or she may recommend self-management strategies to reduce your gout pain.
The primary gout treatment is anti-inflammatory drugs. These are typically used to treat mild to moderate arthritis and to prevent further joint swelling. Although NSAIDs do not cure gout, they can control the pain and inflammation so you can move freely. Some people also take supplements such as cherries, which have been shown to reduce the risk of gout attacks. These supplements help reduce uric acid buildup, which can relieve gout pain.
In addition to medical treatment, there are some self-help strategies you can try at home. Start drinking plenty of water to flush the kidneys and to wash away the uric acid from the joints. You might also consider doing gentle exercises each day to stretch the muscles. You might also want to start eating foods that are high in potassium, such as bananas. Potassium helps keep your body’s joints healthy.