The abnormally high levels of uric acid in the blood promote the formation of needle-like crystals of uric acid that constantly stab the joints hence leading to an excruciating pain in the joints. Over a period of time, these recurrent attacks eventually, damage the joints and its surrounding tissues, a symptom that characterizes the presence of gout.
Natural treatments serve as a gentler way of alleviating the symptoms of gout by slowing down the progression of the disease, without causing any adverse effects like renal failure, gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcers, etc. that are accompanied by the intake of most non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) for treating gout. Some of these natural ways of beating the symptoms of gout have been discussed in the following section.
Natural Ways To Treat Gout
Dietary Changes To Fight the Symptoms of Gout
Incorporating certain fruits and vegetables, enriched with natural compounds that promote the excretion of uric acid by the body and prevents the inflammation of joints can effectively relief the pain and swelling associated with gout. Listed below are a few dietary supplements that can be used for treating gout naturally.
Packed with a wealth of antioxidants, tart cherries have been shown to dissolve and promote the degradation of uric acid crystals in the joints. This helps in relieving joint aches by controlling the build-up of uric acid in the joints. Moreover, it also consists of compounds, which have the ability of repairing the damage done to the cartilage and the protective tissue surrounding the joints.
This makes the daily consumption of cherries, either as a whole or blended in the form of a concentrated juice, a lucrative remedy for mitigating the signs and symptoms of gout. In fact, laboratory studies conducted by Michigan State University state that the intake of about 20 tart cherries exerts the same effect as most anti-inflammatory drugs do.
This effect is mediated by its ability to block the synthesis of two important enzymes namely, Cyclooxygenase 1 and Cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-1 and COX-2) that are required for the production of prostaglandins, which are the primary mediators of inflammation in the body.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Found mostly in cod liver oil, salmon, tuna, fish oil supplements, flax seeds, nuts, omega-3-fatty acids are known for their ability to alleviate inflammation and joint pains associated with gout. However, do not exceed the recommended dosage of a daily intake of 3 mg of omega-3-fatty acids to avoid possible side effects like loose stools, nosebleeds, heart burn, etc. Also, it is not safe for people suffering from diabetes, depression, hypertension to consume omega-3-fatty acids, since they can interact with the medications used to treat these conditions and aggravate its symptoms.
Other food that have been identified for reducing the inflammation and swelling of joints associated with gout are garlic, onion, celery, lemon, mustard, strawberries, blueberries, etc. Also, avoid high-purine containing foods like organ meat, red meat extracts, alcoholic drinks, shellfish, mushrooms, peanuts, asparagus, caffeine, etc., to suppress sudden flare-up’s that occur in gout sufferers.
Dehydration acts as an important trigger for gout attacks by promoting the build-up of toxins in the body that support the accumulation of uric acid in the joints. Hence, the more the amount of water you consume, the easier it gets for the body to flush out toxins and reduce the frequency of recurrent gout attacks.
Drinking five to eight glasses of water in a day has been associated with a decrease in the severity and frequency of joint pains by 40%, thus making it one of the simplest interventions for mitigating the symptoms of gout.
Maintain An Ideal Body Weight
Obesity has been considered as one of the most common risk factors of gout. Excess of weight can place more pressure on the nerve endings, thereby worsening swelling and joint pains associated with gout. A study published in 2002, conducted on obese women have shown that weight gain, especially around the abdominal area promotes the release of inflammatory proteins called cytokines that in turn, increase the inflammation in the joints.
Even though, exercise might not sound like an enjoyable experience to people suffering from stiff joints and chronic joint pains, it is always advisable to start by practicing low-impact exercises like walking and mild aerobic exercises that do not place excess stress on your painful joints.
You will be surprised to see the everlasting effects physical activity has on suppressing your joint pains by strengthening and increasing the flexibility of your joints and muscles. If you find it difficult to walk, take slow and easy steps or use a crane as a support. As you notice an increase in the flexibility of your muscles, move on to weight-training exercises for strengthening your muscles.
Massaging the joints and the tissues surrounding the cartilage can bring great relief from the tension that develops in the joints due to the loss of lubricating fluids that promote flexibility of the joints.
Besides promoting blood circulation, a massage can also increase range of motion in the joints by promoting cartilage repair in patients suffering from gout attacks.
Moist heat in the form of hot tubs, warm baths, hot towels and heat packs available in drug stores can be applied on the affected joints to speed up blood circulation for relaxing the muscles and for reducing joint stiffness. Heat also enables the joints to dissolve uric acid crystals at a faster rate, thereby preventing them from accumulating in the joints.
Ice or cold packs provide a quick relief from joint pain by inducing numbness in the nerves and by preventing inflammation of the joints. Application of heat and cold alternatively for 15 minutes each, have been found to considerably reduce joint aches in gout sufferers.
Hence, natural treatments help you adapt a holistic approach for treating gout by helping you maintain an overall healthy lifestyle. Although, the aforementioned remedies have not yet been approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating gout, studies conducted so far have provided substantial amount of evidence supporting the role of these remedies in having a positive influence on ceasing the course and progression of gout.
Therefore, make sure that you do not use medications unless they are absolutely necessary to treat your condition. Nevertheless, it is always advisable to consult a medical practitioner before including any natural remedies into your gout treatment regimen.