One of the most painful conditions known to man is gout. It usually strikes the right big toe first and it hurts so bad a bed sheet feels far too heavy. Walking is nearly impossible, and forget about socks and shoes. All you will want is fast relief.
What Causes Gout?
Gout is caused by the buildup of uric acid crystals deposited into your joints. Uric acid is a waste product from purine, a substance found in proteins. Usually, the kidneys filter them out, but several conditions may prevent a full removal. When that happens, the uric acid circulates in your blood stream until the crystals are too heavy. The reason the right big toe is usually the first place of attack is the distance it is from your heart.
The foods with the highest amount of purine content are found in organ meats. All proteins contain purine, including vegetables, however it is not known if those found in vegetables are likely to lead to a flare up. If you have gout, it would be wise to calculate how much you are consuming and keep it to a minimum.
One of the reasons those with kidney disease are told to eat a low protein diet is due to this acid. Kidney damage reduces the filtering abilities of the organ which increases both the acid and creatinine. Both of which can poison the body and do a lot of damage to other organs. Untreated gout can result in kidney damage and vice versa.
Some medications can contribute to the problem. Aspirin is a particularly bad trigger, though some studies indicate that low dose (under 81 mgs) may not be a problem. Black tea and alcohol use can also be a trigger.
Anti-Inflammatory herbs and medications can help ease the pain associated with this condition. You may need something stronger from your doctor when it is particularly bad. In the meantime, chamomile, ginger and/or turmeric may be very helpful. If you take medications, check with the doctor to make sure there are no interactions with what you already take.
Cherry juice is often recommended by doctors. In fact, most berries will offer some relief, but the juice of the tart cherry is best. When you feel an attack coming on, go ahead and start drinking it. That could stop it before the pain becomes terrible.
When the pain has subsided a bit, topical application of some remedies may be useful. An oil extraction of gotu kola is a good idea, and capsaicin could help as well. The latter is a counter irritant, which can confuse the brain into shutting down the pain sensors. Avoid willow bark, as it contains the same ingredient found in aspirin and could make matters worse.
Granting you won’t feel like exercise at first, it is best to rest the joint as much as possible until the pain is gone. Exercising it too soon can result in renewed pain. Also, keeping it elevated is a good idea. Ice, once it can be tolerated could reduce some of the inflammation.
Your doctor can help you find the right combination to prevent recurrence and to treat the current attack. Make sure to tell the doctor about any other medical conditions as well as a complete list of all medications and supplements you use. Together, you can stop the pain and prevent future attacks.