Build-up of uric add crystals in joints - especially big toe joints, knuckles, knees, and elbows - due to diet, genetic predisposition, lend poisoning, diuretic drugs, or conditions such as Psoriasis and leukaemia; uric acid, the unwanted end-product of protein breakdown, is excreted by kidneys, but if kidney function is impaired or if more uric acid is produced than they can cope with, crystals accumulate in spaces between joints, causing gout, or in kidneys themselves, causing High Blood Pressure and Kidney Failure.
A first attack of gout usually affects one joint only; joint becomes red, shiny, and excruciatingly painful, often within a matter of hours; moderate Fever may develop as well. Attack wears off after a few days and may never recur; in most cases, however, attacks do recur, at decreasing intervals and affecting more joints. If untreated, joints may be permanently deformed. Orthodox treatment consists of painkillers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or drugs to increase excretion or reduce production of uric acid. Homeopathic treatment is constitutional, but during an attack one of the remedies below may help.
Specific remedies to be taken every 15 minutes for up to 10 doses
- Person depressed, irritable, weak, and nauseous, affected joint excruciatingly painful, especially at night or when an attempt is made to move it Colchicum 30c
- Joints feel bruised and painful Arnica 30c
- Affected joints slightly swollen, with a cold feeling in them, discomfort lessened by cold bathing, increased by movement Ledum 30c
- Affected joints burn and itch Urtica 30c
- Symptoms accompanied by strong-smelling urine Benzoic ac. 30c
- One foot hot, other foot cold, symptoms worse 4-8 pm Lycopodium 30c
- Pains flit from joint to joint Pulsatilla 30c
Self-help: To ease pain, apply a hot compress or ice pack to the affected joint, but do not take aspirin as it may interfere with action of anti-gout drugs. To keep bedclothes off joint, improvise a cage or cradle out of a cardboard box. Try ice packs for 10 minutes on a towel over the joint. Drink extra fluid (plain water is best, or water with a little sodium bicarbonate in it) to enable your kidneys to excrete as much uric acid as possible, and stick to the Liver Diet for 1 month to reduce protein-processing demands on liver. Extra Vitamin C and magnesium are also beneficial. Try eating cherries and drinking herb teas, decrease or stop supplements of Vitamin B3 and Vitamin A.