Gout can be a very painful condition. Warm heat can help bring relief from the discomfort of a gout attack. A gout attack occurs when uric acid builds up in your blood. The uric acid crystallizes and embeds itself in your joints. Using heat to treat your condition can help break up those crystals and reduce the inflammation a gout attack causes. Heat, along with Epsom salts and some ibuprofen, can make you more comfortable.
Things You'll Need
- Warm water (tub, swimming pool or hot tub)
- Hot washcloth
- Heat patch
- Epsom salts
Using Heat to Treat Gout
Run a warm bath or use a heated swimming pool or hot tub. Use a water temperature that you can tolerate without discomfort. You don’t want to burn yourself. If you are pregnant or have diabetes, high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease, don’t sit in a hot bath. If you have any of these conditions, you should use a hot washcloth or heat patch.
Soak in the tub for at least 15 minutes. The heat in the bath dilates your blood vessels, helping improve circulation in the area where you are feeling gout pain. The heat also can help make the uric acid crystals more soluble, which will help your body eliminate them quicker. The longer and hotter the bath, the better the heat will be able to penetrate the affected area. Again, be careful not to burn yourself.
Repeat the treatment twice a day. You can add two cups of Epsom salts to the bath, which will help enhance the benefits of the heat. Epsom salts contain magnesium, which is thought to help circulation. It also flushes toxins from the body.
Take ibuprofen. Ibuprofen acts as an anti-inflammatory. Take two tablets before your bath. As the heat improves your circulation, it will move the medication into the affected area quickly so it can begin to relieve the discomfort.