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Treating Gout at Home

By Paul Rothbart

Gout is a form of arthritis that is quite painful. Attacks come on suddenly in the joints, most often the big toe. The pain is severe and accompanied by tenderness, redness, and swelling. The pain may subside, but lesser discomfort may linger for several days. You might experience a limited range of motion in the affected joint. Gout is caused by excess uric acid in the body. Urate crystals form in the joint, bringing on the attack and the associated swelling and pain. Here are the risks, methods of prevention, and some home treatments for this painful condition.

Factors of Risk

A large amount of meat and fish in the diet along with fructose will increase the production of uric acid. This also increases the risk of gout. Alcohol, especially beer, can also cause a rise in uric acid. Obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, are all conditions that can put one at higher risk of gout. Gout does tend to run in families, so those who have close relatives with gout are at great risk. Gout is more common in men and generally starts between the ages of 30 and 50. Having surgery or experiencing physical trauma can also trigger gout. 


Cutting back on alcohol and juices high in fructose is advised. Fluids are a preventative. Water is the best way to hydrate, although sugarless ice tea is also good. Cut back on fish and especially red meats and fatty proteins. Try to get more protein from low-fat dairy and eggs. Low-fat dairy, in addition to not increasing uric acid like meat does, can protect against gout symptoms, particularly in men.  Maintaining a healthy weight will also help prevent a gout attack.


Extreme and long lasting pain and swelling requires medical attention, but a typical attack can be treated at home. For pain that is not severe, placing an ice pack or cold compress on the joint will reduce swelling. Apply cold for up to 20 minutes a few times a day. If possible, elevate the affected joint and rest it. Don't attempt to use it until the pain is gone. Drink plenty of water. This will bring the uric acid levels down to a normal range. Avoid any of the foods or drinks that cause gout as they will work against the treatment and can make the attack worse. Cherry juice has been shown to decrease uric acid production and help relieve gout symptoms.

A gout attack is painful and debilitating and seemingly comes from out of nowhere. Know the causes and avoid the risk factors. When experiencing attacks, use the recommended treatments and get medical help if the attack becomes severe. 

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Brandon, Fla.

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