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Non-Medication Pain Relief

In addition to medication, these self-care tips may help your gout flare-up pain:

  • Use cold. If the pain isn't too bad, try cold packs or cold compresses on the joint to lessen the inflammation and help the pain. Ice the joint for 20 to 30 minutes several times a day.
  • Rest the joint. It's a good idea to rest until the pain lessens. Most people having an acute attack of gouty arthritis probably won't want to move the joint much anyway. Raise the joint if you can on a pillow or other soft object.
  • Drink water. A lack of water in your body can make your uric acid levels rise even higher than they already are. Drinking water will help your body stabilize uric acid to a normal level.
  • Watch what you eat and drink. Foods that are high in purines (seafood, organ meats like liver, and even some vegetables) can increase the uric acid in your blood even more. So can fructose-sweetened drinks and alcohol -- especially beer.

When to Get Help for a Gout Flare

It's always a good idea to let your doctor know that you are having a flare. Sometimes, you may need to follow up to make sure your gout treatment plan is working or if your symptoms don't improve. Call your health care provider, if:

  • This is your first gout flare-up -- There are several other conditions, such as a joint infection, that have some of the same symptoms as gout flares.
  • You have a high fever and chills -- Gout attack symptoms may include a low-grade fever, but a higher fever may be a symptom of an infection.
  • Your symptoms don't improve somewhat after 48 hours or don't end after about a week -- If you don't start to feel somewhat better after a few days, call your health care provider. She may suggest a different treatment. Most gout attacks will resolve by themselves in 7 to 10 days even without gout treatment.

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