Top Tips to Alleviate Your Gout Pain

Top Tips to Alleviate Your Gout Pain

If you’ve ever had a gout flare, you know how the pain can wake you out of your sleep and interfere with your daily life. When the radiating heat strikes, you need to act fast to manage the flare.

The good news is gout is one of the easiest types of arthritis to manage. By maintaining normal uric acid levels, you can lower your risk for flare-ups. With a few lifestyle adjustments, you can prevent new uric acid crystals from forming and keep gout flares at bay.

Here at Pain Management Specialists, our interventional pain management physicians, Stuart Hough, MD, and Ramani Peruvemba, MD, help patients in Rockville and Frederick, Maryland manage acute and chronic pain. Our physicians are experienced in evaluating and diagnosing the underlying causes of pain. 

Gout causes sudden, severe pain and swelling, usually in the big toe or another part of the foot. We can help you manage gout and minimize the impact it has on your quality of life. 

Understanding gout

Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that occurs when levels of uric acid build up to the point that needle-shaped crystals can begin to form. These crystals can then affect joints, most often the big toe.

Gout attacks often come on suddenly and are extremely painful. During a gout attack, you may feel radiating pain and notice swelling and redness in your affected joint.

Gout attacks can last from a few hours to several days. Sudden attacks may occur once or twice a year, or you may have recurring attacks that happen more regularly.

Avoiding gout pain

If you suffer from gout attacks, doing the following things can help relieve the pain or help prevent future occurrences.

Take medication

You should always seek your doctor’s advice on dealing with gout pain. However, in general, you should take pain medication at the first sign of a gout flare-up.

If you’re prescribed an anti-inflammatory drug for acute gout attacks, follow your doctor’s instructions. Otherwise, take an over-the-counter, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication, such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Aleve®). However, you should avoid taking aspirin, which can exacerbate a flare-up.

If you’re unable to take NSAIDs due to allergies or a contraindication with another prescribed medication, your provider may prescribe a corticosteroid to manage gout flare-ups. Corticosteroid medications are available in oral and injectable forms.

If you take a medication that helps lower uric acid levels, continue taking it. However, if you aren’t on a uric acid-lowering drug, your provider may not start you on one in the midst of an attack, because these drugs can exacerbate flare-ups.

Apply ice

Applying an ice pack to the affected joint can relieve pain and inflammation. Wrap an ice pack, bag of crushed ice, or bag of frozen peas in a cloth and apply it to the affected area for 20-30 minutes at a time a few times a day.

Stay hydrated

As mentioned earlier, elevated levels of uric acid can cause crystals to form. However, staying hydrated can help the body remove uric acid. Furthermore, drinking plenty of water can also help prevent the development of kidney stones, which is a common complication of elevated uric acid levels.

Try to drink at least eight cups of water a day. Keeping a bottle of water with you and sipping throughout the day can help you stay hydrated and avoid getting a gout flare-up.

If you’re struggling with painful gout flares, our team can work with you to reduce the frequency of attacks and severity of the symptoms. To get started, schedule an appointment online or over the phone with Pain Management Specialists today.

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