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Treating a Gout Attack at Home

By Paul Rothbart

Gout is a form of arthritis that can be extremely painful. It's caused by excess uric acid in the body. The acid can create crystals in many of the joints, although the big toe is the most common place for a gout attack. The crystals cause swelling and considerable pain. It can be treated and managed with medication and a proper diet. If you suspect you may have gout, see a doctor. If you have already been diagnosed with it, here are some ways to treat a flare-up at home.

The Signs of a Flare-Up

People with gout can suffer attacks only occasionally or frequently depending on lifestyle factors such as diet. A flare-up is often preceded by an itching, tingling, or burning sensation in the affected joint. There may also be some soreness or stiffness. Soon thereafter, gout symptoms begin. The joint usually swells and may turn red. The pain is usually severe. People with gout can generally recognize an attack in the early stages. Once you are aware of the flare-up, it's time to take steps to treat it.

Taking Mediation

If your doctor has diagnosed your gout and prescribed medication, you should take it -- following the directions -- at the start of an attack. A common type of medication prescribed for gout is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID). These medications will reduce inflammation and pain without the potential side effects of steroids. There are prescription NSAIDs such as celecoxib or sulindac, or your doctor may advise you to use an over-the-counter drug such as ibuprofen or naproxen. More extreme cases of gout may require a steroid such as colchicine. Whatever medication you are using, be careful to use it properly and not exceed the recommended dosage.

Home Treatments

There are non-medicinal treatments that can be used at home to ease a gout flare-up. Rest the affected area until the pain subsides. Elevate it if you can and keep it still. Icing the painful joint for 20-minute intervals throughout the day can reduce swelling and relieve the pain. Drinking water can help flush out uric acid. Dehydration is a common factor in gout flare-ups. It is also important to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages and eating organ meats and shellfish. These and other fatty foods can raise uric acid levels and lead to an attack.

Gout is nothing to ignore. If you are experiencing symptoms for the first time, see a doctor for a diagnosis. If you have already been diagnosed, recognize the symptoms of an attack, and take the steps to treat it.

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

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