How to stop gout flares

4 Tips for Overcoming A Gout Flare-Up

Overcoming A Gout Flare-Up

If you were to ask anyone who suffers from gout, they would tell you the worst pain to experience is a gout flare-up.

My dad suffers from gout. I can remember when I was in high school and he was initially diagnosed. He went to bed one morning feeling fine. He woke up the next morning and couldn’t even put pressure on his foot. It was baffling.

Now that I’ve been a nurse for ten years, I’ve seen some pretty intense things and seen grown men cry because they’re in excruciating pain. Still, some people have told me that gout pain rates high on their list.

So, here are four tips that I’ve compiled – from my professional experience and from my personal experience – that can help you get through a flare-up.

Take Your Meds

Remember when you were handed a prescription for pain medication or told to pick up a certain pain reliever from the drugstore? You were probably given explicit instructions on how to take those medications so as to reduce the pain.

Well, pull those instructions out or better yet, call your doctor.

Several medications are often prescribed to treat pain associated with gout:

  • •    Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen.  These can be purchased over-the-counter.  They     reduce pain while also lower the inflammation at the joint.
  • •    Your physician may also order NSAIDs that require a prescription, such as indomethacin.
  • •    Colchicine can also be given at the onset of a flare-up, but is not a pain medication, per se.  According to WebMD, it is thought to “…work by decreasing swelling and lessening the build-up of uric acid crystals that cause pain in the affected joint(s).”  Colchicine is given at a small dose and titrated up, and can also be given as a daily medication to prevent gout flare-ups.
  • Corticosteroids, like prednisone, can be given as a pill or injection if the pain doesn’t respond to NSAIDs or colchicine.

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Get Your Rest

When you were diagnosed with gout, it is likely your doctor spouted off on the importance of adding exercise to your life. After all, exercise can improve the mobility of the affected joints and reduce weight, both of which are beneficial if you have gout.

So why am I recommending that you rest if you are having a flare-up of your gout?

Try to remember when your physician told you what causes gout – your pain is essentially caused because uric acid crystals are building up in your joints. When you move your joints, your joints are moving against the crystals, which is what is causing the pain.

When you are in a “normal” state, you do not have the uric acid crystal buildup. I would strongly encourage an exercise routine at that time.

When you have a flare-up, the build up will cause inflammation. Rest is crucial for the inflammation to reduce – so you have permission to have a Netflix marathon!

Apply Ice

Applying ice to the affected joint is another great way to decrease pain immediately.

This method will not cause the pain to go away indefinitely, at least not until the uric acid crystals have had a chance to resolve themselves, but they can temporarily reduce pain.

To do so, just apply an ice pack (or any frozen food) to the affected joint. It is recommended to wrap the ice or frozen food in a dish towel – this will create a barrier so that you do not place the ice directly on the skin.

Drink Extra Fluids

Dehydration can trigger a gout flare-up to occur. Why? When there are fewer fluids in the body, the amount of uric acid in the body increases. When the uric acid levels rise, the kidneys cannot keep up.

When you’re in the midst of a gout flare up, it is wise to increase your fluid intake. This includes drinking an adequate amount of water, especially when exercising or when it is hot out.

Not only can this prevent a gout flare up from occurring, but it can also help to “rinse out” the crystals from the body during a flare up.

So there you have it – four tips to get you through a gout flare-up!

References 

Arthritis Foundation (Managing a Gout Attack)

WebMD (Colchicine)

WebMD (Gout – Medications)

WebMD (Your Gout Triggers)

 

 

Author Bio:

Krystina Ostermeyer is a practicing RN who also enjoys writing about health and wellness. She has a varied nursing background and is currently working as a diabetes educator. She lives in a small town with her husband and two-year-old son. You can find more of Krystina’s writing on NewLifeOutlook.

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12 Comments

  • rayan

    Reply Reply September 6, 2017

    I am gout sufferer for almost a year now.
    I am battling with gout since then until now, during my expirement on battling gout I came across some food and remedies that would help:

    1-black cherry extract, I took six a day.
    2-glucsomine and MSM, I took two a day.
    3-two table spoons of apple cider vineger
    4-baking soda 1/2 teaspon, 3 times a day
    5-drink plenty of water

  • Shauna White

    Reply Reply August 1, 2017

    Thanks for the tips!
    Very Very useful and well informed. I hope I will write like you someday. Keep writing.

  • Footlumps

    Reply Reply July 27, 2017

    I’ve been having regular serious gout attacks virtually every few weeks for the past six months. I have been on a strict diet and am on Allopurinol and test my uric acid level almost every day which shows that the Allopurinol is working. However, even though I’ve been on the strictest diet and medication for months here I am in the early stages of yet another severe attack and I have no idea why. I’ve done all the right things and my diet is abnormally strict due to suspected food allergies, so what is going on, and why? Constant gout is destroying my life.

    • Ed

      Reply Reply August 17, 2017

      What strict diet are you following? You’ll need to give up meat and fish. Especially fish for me. Once I did that and started drinking plenty of water my attacks stopped.

  • Gout Got Gout

    Reply Reply July 22, 2017

    Eat everything in moderation and don’t forget your morning pill. Have had Gout for years.

  • Darren Hignett

    Reply Reply July 7, 2017

    I completely disagree with the tip to apply ice. I keep hearing how keeping the joints warm helps with blood flow and to remove the crystals and that saunas are good for arthritis related illness.

    • Footlumps

      Reply Reply July 28, 2017

      Yes that does make sense, but in my experience I simply can’t tolerate my foot in even slightly warm water. It just sends it throbbing with pain. Likewise ice water is more than I can take. For me what helps is just cold water from the tap in a big plastic bowl, enough to completely submerge my foot, and I just keep that on the floor near me to use when I feel the need.

      I find that about a half hour at a time every so often seems to help the pain somewhat and I’ve sometimes even fallen asleep with my leg hanging off the edge of the couch with my foot in the water and stayed like that for a couple of hours which is about as long as I can sleep between painkillers during an attack.

  • Krishna Cheedella

    Reply Reply July 6, 2017

    Hi,

    Thank you very much for the tips. These helped me a lot. I would like to add that drinking 8 to 16 glasses of water every day is a must. It helps flush out uric acid out of the body.

    And the most important thing to control uric acid, in fact any disease is to have positive thoughts all of the time. Positive energy can keep you in great health. My uric acid is off the charts but gods grace I m in great health because I believe God keeps me healthy and happy. Push out negative thoughts and keep making happy thoughts all the time. That’s the key.

    Thanks and regards,

    Krishna Cheedella

  • Jason

    Reply Reply July 6, 2017

    Good article except I have to violently disagree with “Apply Ice”. Cold on an inflamed gout joint causes it to contract. Contraction causes your muscles, tendons and other flesh in general to press against the uric acid crystals more, similar to your exercise comment. Picture holding a handful of pins and needles. Now mentally increase your grip on the needles until they start to hurt a good amount. Applying cold is like closing your grip even further causing more damage.

    I learned this through practical experience when my physiotherapist recommended cold for my gout. This is the standard lesson in Physio school for an inflamed joint. When I tried it things got much worse following the example above.

    ON a different note I have found the hydration comment the most important. Drinking quite a bit more than you are comfortable with helps quite a bit.

    Cheers!

  • Hector m. Lopez

    Reply Reply July 6, 2017

    Thank you very much for your professional
    Help and the tips… ( Very useful ) superb.

  • Andrew DeMario

    Reply Reply July 6, 2017

    Why overcome flareups when you can get rid of gout for good? I have beat gout. I am a senior citizen, not overweight, and exercise daily. I had gout for 8 years and it progressively got worse. I was determined to get rid of it, i.e., dissolve all UA crystals, and never get an attack again, and never take any medication in the process. I succeeded. I am now free of gout for 18 months when I was getting a severe attack once a month before. I took drastic measures. For one year I quit all booze, became a lacto/ovo vegetarian, drank a minimum of 1/2 gallon of water each day, stopped eating honey and all added sugars (especially fructose) and took 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in 6 ounces of water every night before I went to bed. I now eat any and all forms of meat and fish and fats and don’t believe that sort of food to be gout causing at all. I stopped with the baking soda six months ago, but still drink water copiously. In my opinion, booze and sugar are the enemy and always have been.

    • Footlumps

      Reply Reply July 28, 2017

      Personally I believe much of what you say to be true. Certainly fructose is a culprit. But when you think about it logically you can’t help but see connection between a more “natural” diet and better health. I believe genetics play a part too.

      The high rate of alcoholism, anemia, diabetes and associated conditions among the native populations of Mexico and North America are in my opinion closely linked to the sudden recent dietary changes brought on with the abrupt availability and consumption of unnatural foods in the population.

      To me it makes sense that for people accustomed to thousands or even millions of years of certain food sources there must surely be consequences if there is a massive and abrupt disruption or alteration in food such as that experienced by native American populations in only the last couple of hundred years. Sudden exposure to refined sugar, widely available alcohol and unnaturally processed foods to a population would almost certainly have adverse effects.

      For all of us this evolutionarily sudden disruption in food sources is tantamount to cultural suicide whoever you are. We should all look back at what our own individual genetic cultures were used to before globalization made everything available to everybody everywhere all the time.

      I would be very interested in knowing things like what Roman physicians reported when Rome’s armies became international migrants, or what happened when Vikings from Europe settled permanently in North America.

      This article is very interesting: https://goutandyou.com/gout-and-the-tsimane-tribe/

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