Gout is a type of arthritis that frequently occurs in the big toe. The pain that gouty arthritis can cause in a big toe (or other joint) can be quite severe. When you add the swelling and stiffness that accompany the pain, you've got an uncomfortable condition that’s a recipe for misery.
This painful type of arthritis is caused by too much uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is the waste product that’s a result of body processes, but it can also be found in various foods. The kidneys are usually able to remove uric acid from the body via urine, but when the body produces too much uric acid or the kidneys cannot eliminate it properly, gout can occur.
Gout can strike anyone, but it’s most often diagnosed in patients who are overweight, frequently indulge in alcohol or who eat a diet that’s rich in purine-laden fish and meat. In addition, some medicines like diuretics may cause gout.
While gout attacks can occur in joints in the knees, foot, or ankle, the most common sign is nighttime pain and swelling in the big toe. These painful attacks can last for days or even weeks before going away for an indefinite amount of time. It’s not uncommon for a gout patient to go years without another attack.
How Can Chiropractic Help?
Your chiropractor can help alleviate the symptoms of gout. First, your doctor of chiropractic will ask you some questions about your symptoms. He or she will then perform a physical examination to test for gout. If you do have gout, your chiropractor will probably prescribe several different treatment methods to combat the pain and inflammation.
First, your chiropractor will most likely advise you to reduce your intake of alcohol, meat, or other foods that are high in purine. Lowering the purine levels in your body is one of the most effective ways to manage gouty arthritis. Your chiropractor may suggest certain foods like cherries that have been shown to reduce uric acid levels naturally. Other foods and herbs may be recommended to support kidney function and reduce the inflammation that you’re experiencing.
In addition to dietary advice, your chiropractor may perform adjustments to help alleviate the pain in your joints. He or she may also suggest certain exercises that you can perform at home or heat treatments that will give you relief away from the office.
Gouty arthritis is extremely painful, but it can be managed. If you’re suffering from pain, redness, or swelling in your big toe or other parts of your body, contact your chiropractic team. They’ll be able to work with you to relieve your symptoms naturally without medication or surgery.