There are many ways to treat and alleviate the symptoms of gout using conventional and herbal medicines. However, it is important to recognise the role that lifestyle can play in exacerbating existing symptoms. Here, our muscle and joint expert Earle Logan recommends the best home and natural treatments for reducing the symptoms of gout, and offers advice on critical lifestyle changes.
If you are suffering from an attack of gout, making your joint feel more comfortable will be a priority.
You may find that resting and raising the joint, particularly if you use a cold compress will make the joint feel less painful and inflamed until the gout subsides. This will help by easing the symptoms, rather than treating the condition itself.
A diet low in purines with plenty of water to flush uric acid out of the body is also effective. Alcohol, particularly beer and red wine, is best avoided as it is renowned for worsening gout. Some people find that maintaining a regular amount of moderate exercise also helps with gout.
If you are suffering from an attack of gout, then the first thing you will want to do is relieve the pain and inflammation. Devil’s claw is a plant native to the southern parts of Africa. The tubers are used medicinally, and are a traditional remedy for joint pain. They possess anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic and painkilling properties. Devil’s Claw can be found in licensed herbal remedies, such as Atrosan® Devil’s Claw Tablets.
Arnica is a herb which has been used for hundreds of years as it possesses powerful anti-inflammatory action when used externally. For the treatment of gout, applying licensed herbal remedy Atrogel® arnica gel to the affected joint, is likely to reduce or relieve the symptoms.
There are also herbal remedies which focus on cleaning the toxins out of your body by supporting the function of the liver and kidneys. In particular, Golden Rod, also known as Solidago, helps to support the kidneys by removing impurities from the body. It is available in tincture or tea form.
Finally, Milk Thistle has a long traditional use as a tonic for the liver and has also seen to be effective in metabolising fat; for this reason some people have found it effective in the treatment of gout.
Doctors will often recommend a short course of an anti-inflammatory painkiller for acute episodes of joint pain. Alternatively, steroid injections or tablets may be suggested. While these treatments are usually effective in quickly resolving the symptoms of gout attack, they only treat the symptoms and do not tackle the root of the problem. Therefore, further gout attacks are likely to occur.
In the long term, your doctor is likely to ask you to examine your diet, and reduce the quantity of alcohol you consume and foods, such as red meat, which are high in purines. He is also likely to encourage you to drink as much water as possible.
Alongside this, he may suggest a drug such as allopurinol or febuxostat which are used to lower the level of uric acid in the bloodstream. These are used in the long term to reduce the frequency of gout attacks.
It is often advisable to go to the doctor the first time you have an attack of gout, to have the condition diagnosed and to get advice on your diet and lifestyle. Further to this, if you are able to manage your attacks effectively at home, it is not necessary to seek medical attention.
However, if you develop any complications, side-effects of medication or are concerned about your condition, it is important to seek the advice of your doctor. In addition, see your doctor if pain in an affected joint persists longer than normal.
Some foods can increase inflammation and discomfort, whilst others can actually reduce it and relieve pain. Discover which foods you should eat fewer of (some might surprise you) and what you should eat more of instead, when suffering from muscle & joint pain.
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While many foods can trigger gout, according to several studies foods rich in vitamin C (like oranges) could be the answer to reducing it. One such study found that the higher the intake of vitamin C, the more protection from gout.