Gout attacks can be extremely painful and even debilitating for some people. In most instances, it is important to treat the attack as quickly as possible to reduce the pain.
The first step during a gout attack is to take any medication you have been prescribed as quickly as possible, because it can often take several days to have any impact.
- Rest and raise the affected limb – it is recommended to avoid weight bearing and using the affected limb, particularly during an acute gout attack. If you are able to, try to raise the affected joint and place it on a pillow, or other soft object.
- Keep the joint as cool as possible – remove any clothing and apply an ice pack (or bag of frozen peas) wrapped in a damp towel. Keep the ice pack applied to the joint for around 20 minutes at a time and reapply each time the skin has returned to normal temperature. Avoid applying an ice pack directly to the skin as this can damage the skin.
- Remain hydrated, regularly drinking cold water – it is important to remain hydrated because this will help flush the out the high levels of uric acid in your body.
- Be careful of what you eat and drink – when you are suffering from a gout attack, your body will have high levels of uric acid. You should ideally avoid foods or drinks that are high in purines as this will further increase the level of uric acid in your body. For more information on high purine foods, click here.
NSAIDs – Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
This class of drugs provide a quick and effective way to relieve pain.
Ibuprofen and naproxen are commonly used over-the-counter pain medications, normally sold under the brand names Advil (Ibuprofen) and Aleve (naproxen).
It is very important that drugs within this class of medication are used cautiously, in particularly for those who suffer from or have a history of coronary heart disease, heart failure, kidney disease and stomach ulcers. The side effects of anti-inflammatory medication might include increased risk of bleeding, diarrhea, heartburn, nausea and rash.
It is strongly recommended that you see professional advice before taking any over-the-counter pain medication.