Alternative treatments for gout include drinking plenty of water, taking vitamin C, and eating cherries. Gout is a painful form of arthritis that can occur suddenly. Gout develops when a substance called uric acid forms into crystals and envelopes the joints. It can occur in any joint, though is most common in the hands and toes, particularly the great toe.
Typically, gout is treated with prescription medications to lower uric acid levels in the blood, and with dietary changes. In addition, anti-inflammatory medications can also help alleviate symptoms of gout. Although effective, prescription gout medications can cause side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. For this reason, alternative treatments for gout are sometimes sought.
Symptoms of gout include pain and swelling of the affected joint, warmth, and redness. Sometimes the pain is so severe, it can mimic the pain of a broken bone. The pain from gout is often described as searing or throbbing, however, the condition is typically well managed. Gout can be diagnosed by a simple blood test that can determine if elevated levels of uric acid are present in the blood stream. This, combined with x-rays can usually differentiate gout from other inflammatory conditions.
Drinking plenty of water is included in the list of alternative treatments for gout. When not enough water is consumed, uric acid in the urine and bloodstream becomes concentrated. These high levels of concentrated uric acid can contribute to gout. Water dilutes circulating uric acid levels and flushes it out. Although drinking water typically has no contraindications, hydration therapy should be discussed with a physician before it is started.
Cherries have anti-inflammatory properties and may also have the potential to lower high levels of uric acid in the bloodstream. Drinking cherry juice and consuming raspberries or blueberries may do the same thing. Other alternative treatments for gout include taking vitamin C supplements. Vitamin C can help excessive amounts of uric acid to be excreted through the urine. Before taking supplements, however, the risks and benefits should be discussed with a physician.
One of the most popular alternative treatments for gout is deep breathing. Although deep breathing and other methods of relaxation, like yoga, have not proved effective in reducing levels of uric acid or inflammation, they can help promote relaxation. When the body is more relaxed, it can respond better to pain and the body may not perceive pain signals as readily when it is in a relaxed state.