Chronic illness sufferers have become all too acquainted to living with chronic pains. And, gout sufferers are no exception. Few things are more painful than a joint that is red, inflamed, swollen, and radiating heat, during a gout flare-up. Once started these flare-ups are nearly impossible to stop, but you can try to ease your discomfort and reduce the risk of further attacks by trying one of these at home methods.
But, before talking about at-home management tips, it’s important to understand the cause of these attacks and identify some of the warning signs. Gout, and it’s flare-ups, occur because of an elevated level of uric acid. Once this uric acid crystallizes, an attack occurs. Before getting to this point, though, there are a few telltale warning signs. The attack may start with a burning, itching, or tingling feeling in the joint. This joint may also feel stiff or sore. After suffering through repeated attacks, you’ll soon be able to tell your body’s signals that a flare-up is going to occur.
For each flare-up that occurs, you should follow the medical advice given by your physician first and foremost. Take any medications as prescribed, and follow any other instructions given. If you believe that you have gout but haven’t shared this with a medical professional, please do.
After taking pain relief medication, ice the joint. If manageable, use an ice pack or cold compass for 20 to 30 minutes several times day. Icing the joint should help manage the pain and reduce inflammation. Try to rest the joint, and elevate as often as possible.
Following this, drink plenty of liquids. Failing to drink enough water can help to elevate your uric acid levels whereas staying hydrated can help to flush out the uric acid. Drinking water also helps to prevent kidney stones, another potential problem associated with high uric acid levels.
Follow your gout diet. In order to avoid flare-ups, avoid common gout triggers. These triggers include seafood, alcohol, and meat. The key to a successful gout diet is to steer clear of foods high in purines. While triggers vary per person, a more exhaustive list can be found here.
Relax. Or try to focus on something other than gout. Read a really good book, catch up on your favorite show, or do anything else that can help you clear your head.
If you find that it’s impossible to manage your pain at home, contact your physician. If you need emotional support or other quick pain management tips, from others just like yourself, join Peer Health. Patients are the best source of comfort and solace when living with a chronic illness. Find healthcare peers just like you. Join us today.