The Lifestyle Approach
Despite your best efforts – taking the prophylactic medications and following a strict diet – it is inevitable that a flare-up will happen at some point. Managing the pain will come down to taking the medication, continuing the diet in the midst of the pain (which we all know is hard to do during a time of stress!) and perhaps trying some natural home-based gout treatments for pain relief.
Cold therapy can reduce inflammation. Your joint is probably swollen from the uric acid buildup in the joint. A cold compress can reduce the inflammation, even temporarily. It will also help reduce the pain. Apply the cold compress with a barrier for up to 30 minutes, several times per day.
Rest is indicated. Although you may have an active lifestyle, especially if you’re working hard to shed unwanted pounds, now is not the time to hit the elliptical machine or go for the daily walk (although I doubt you’d want to anyway). If you’re able, elevate the joint to relieve the inflammation.
Hydration can help to “flush” out extra uric acid. Sometimes dehydration causes the flare-up. Even if dehydration didn’t cause your flare-up, drinking extra water (unless contraindicated) can help return uric acid levels to normal levels.
Supplements for the Treatment of Gout
There are a variety of nutritional supplements that may treat gout.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: these can be consumed through a supplement OR through food, by eating fatty, cold water fish. Discuss this supplement with your physician if you take aspirin or warfarin.
- N-acetyl cysteine: for antioxidant effects
- Acidophilus: taken as a probiotic. However, those who are immunocompromised should discuss the use of a probiotic with their physician.
- Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM): helps to reduce inflammation
Herbs for the Treatment of Gout
There are also a variety of herbal preparations that may treat gout. Herbs may be available as capsules, powders or teas, glycerine extracts, or tinctures. Follow instructions on the herbal preparation when purchasing the preparation. When beginning any herbal treatment, always discuss with your physician first.
- Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon): this is beneficial for kidney health. It can also be purchased as a pure juice and can be consumed by drinking 8 to 16 ounces daily.
- Green tea (Camelia sinensis): green tea has an antioxidant effect.
- Devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens): this can reduce inflammation and pain. However, it can interact with blood-thinning medications so it should be used in caution if you are prescribed these medications. It is also contraindicated during pregnancy.
- Cat’s claw (Uncaria tomentosa): this herbal preparation may reduce inflammation and has effects on immunity as well as antibacterial effects. However, it may worsen leukemia and autoimmune disorders.
- Bromelain (Ananus comosus): this can reduce pain and inflammation. It also interacts with certain blood-thinning medications.
- Turmeric (Curcuma longa): this herbal preparation may reduce inflammation. It can interact with blood-thinning medications
Armed with this information, know that you are able to treat your pain using a multifaceted approach. Please consult your physician before utilizing any of the options discussed in this article.