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.
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.