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How Effective Is Acupuncture for Gout?

Full fat dairy products can exacerbate gout.
Gout attacks typically affect a person's big toe.
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  • Written By: Madeleine A.
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 24 June 2014
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Acupuncture for gout may help relieve symptoms of pain and inflammation. In acupuncture, fine needles are inserted into various points of the body to control pain. In the treatment of gout, it is said that acupuncture can help stimulate endorphins, which are natural analgesics to help reduce the pain of gout and help patients feel more relaxed. Acupuncture for gout is thought to reduce uric acid levels in the body. High levels of uric acid cause crystal deposits to form in the joints, causing pain, redness, and swelling.

Gout is a form of arthritis caused by elevated levels of uric acid in the bloodstream and urine. Conventional treatment for gout includes following a low-purine diet and limiting meat and alcohol intake. Purines are found in anchovies, sardines, barley, and cauliflower, among other foods. Medications including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are also commonly prescribed to relieve pain and swelling, as are corticosteroids. A medication called colchicine is also routinely prescribed in the treatment of gout, and is generally well tolerated by most patients.

When a person wishes to try acupuncture for gout, it is essential to work with an experienced practitioner. For safety, it is essential that acupuncture needles are brand new and sterile. A physician can sometimes recommend an acupuncturist who has worked with gout patients or patients who have experienced chronic or severe pain.

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Commonly, gout afflicts a single joint, which is most often the big toe. It can affect multiple joints, however, including joints in the hands, feet, elbows, and ankles. The pain of gout can come on suddenly and is often described as a throbbing, excruciating pain. Sometimes, gout pain is so severe that wearing shoes may be impossible, when the joint of the big toe is affected.

For people who cannot tolerate anti-inflammatory medications or corticosteroids, acupuncture for gout may be an appropriate treatment by itself. Sometimes, multiple acupuncture treatments are necessary to achieve results, and other times only one treatment may be necessary. Since gout can resemble other medical conditions, the health care provider should be notified at the first sign of symptoms. He can rule out other painful joint conditions, before alternative methods of treating gout begins. Medical check-ups and routine blood tests should be done to monitor the progression or regression of gout and to evaluate treatment.

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serenesurface
Post 3

Acupuncture is good too, but electro-acupuncture is even better. There is more stimulation with electro-acupuncture so it's more effective. At least, this has been my experience.

candyquilt
Post 2

@ddljohn-- There aren't a specific number of sessions that you need to have for swelling and pain relief from gout. But I recommend going for a session or two when you are actually having a gout attack.

I've had about four sessions of acupuncture for my gout. I only went when I had an attack and when the swelling and pain in my toe was unbearable. Acupuncture for gout is effective, but the effect is temporary. So if you have it done when your gout is not acting up, you're not going to get any benefits. If you go when your toe is very swollen and throbbing with pain, acupuncture will relieve some of the swelling and pain and it will help you get through it.

ddljohn
Post 1

Is anyone here receiving acupuncture therapy for gout? How many sessions are you aiming for and have you experienced any relief so far?

I have been suffering from gout for three years now. I would like to try alternative treatments for it like acupuncture. My insurance will pay for a couple of sessions, which is great because acupuncture is kind of expensive. I'm just trying to figure out if a few sessions will be enough for gout pain relief or if I need to put aside money for more sessions.

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