Gout is a type of arthritis that occurs when small particles of sodium urate are deposited in and around the joints due to excess uric acid. The most common symptom of gout pain is intense pain in the joints accompanied by redness and inflammation. While gout generally affects the joint of the big toe, it can influence any joint of the body. Signs of gout develop very quickly, can go from bad to worse in just 6 to 24 hours, and last for 3 and up to 10 days. Anybody with gout can expect to have more episodes of pain in the future.
Facts About Gout Pain
The two images below show 13 facts about gout pain.
What Is Gout?
Historically referred to as ‘A Disease Of Kings’ due to its association with overindulgence of meat, alcohol, sweetened drinks and seafood that only the rich could afford, gout has become more common today. Anyone familiar with the condition will tell you that an intense pain can strike without warning in one of your numerous joints.
Gout can be described as a common type of arthritis that causes recurrent attacks in multiple joints in your body. The condition causes pain in the joints making them red, hot, tender and swollen in a matter of hours.
One of the main factors believed to trigger gout is persistently elevated levels of uric acid in the bloodstream. This causes crystallization which leads to deposits forming in the tendons, surrounding tissues and the joints themselves.
Research shows that over 8 million Americans (4% of the population) suffer from gout with over 2% of the entire Western population expected to experience it at some point in their lives. Gout is more common in men than women and is believed to be more rampant now that people are living longer and not watching what they eat.
What Triggers Gout Pain?
Gout occurs due to the accumulation of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is a waste product that is produced by our body everyday and is excreted by the kidneys.
If your body is producing uric acid in large quantities or you excrete too little uric acid through your kidneys, it starts to accumulate and trigger the formation of sodium urate crystals in certain joints. These hard needle-shaped particles build up slowly over many years and can be diagnosed by your doctor.
What Causes Gout?
Gout is quite a complex disease which comes with different causes. But the main cause has been identified as an excess of uric acid in the body. The uric acid comes from certain foods such as organ meats, steak, and seafoods while other foods like fructose, beer and soda also promote high uric acid levels.
Diet – Consuming a diet rich in seafoods, meat, sugary drinks and alcohol is one surefire way of increasing your risk of gout. Likewise, being overweight causes production of more uric acid.
Medical conditions – Certain conditions and diseases increase the risk of developing gout. Most chronic ailments like diabetes, kidney disease, metabolic syndromes and heart disease all make the list. Untreated high blood pressure can also cause gout.
Medications – Can’t have a medical condition without pharmaceuticals, right? However, a few of them have been known to increase uric acid levels in the body. These include hypertension meds, diuretics, low dose aspirin, and organ transplant anti-rejection drugs.
Genetics and family history also play a crucial role in gout. If some of the members in your family have the disease, chances are that you have a high risk potential of developing it as well.
Symptoms Of Gout
Like most other inflammatory conditions, gout can present itself in several ways. However, the most typical symptom is a hot, red, swollen joint. The metatarsal joint under the big toe seems to be a favorite target for the condition with over half of all cases experiencing pain and inflammation.
Other joints such as the wrists, fingers, knees, and heels may also be affected. Here’s a list of some of the other symptoms:
- Intense joint pain that gets more severe as the day goes
- Lingering discomfort in joints that can last for weeks
- Redness and inflammation as joints turn red and tender
- Painful, limited range of motion as the gout progresses
Why Use Essential Oils For Quick Relief In Gout Pain?
For those of us who have ever suffered a sudden gout attack, it can be one of the most painful events next to childbirth. It’s almost like having a sharp wedge forced right in between your joints causing severe pain.
That’s why most people rush for gout medications such as NSAIDs, Steroids, and Colchicine. However, all of these pharmaceuticals come with dire side effects such as gastrointestinal bleeding, heart failure, and kidney disease. So while your doctor will prescribe these pharmaceuticals, you can also make use of natural treatments to help ease the treatment and recovery process.
Essential oils have been used since ages for joint conditions such as gout pain, due to their ability to relieve painful points and get rid of the uric acid crystals that are stuck within them. Further, most essential oils have anti-inflammatory properties which are precisely what gout patients need.
At the same time, these ethereal extract are imbued with analgesic or pain killing properties which block pain receptors to ease the pain and discomfort associated with gout.
There are literally hundreds of essential oils each with a helpful medicinal component to contribute towards the treatment of gout symptoms. But we’ll name just a few as well as some of the medicinal values they bring to the table.
Lemongrass essential oil has to be the best for gout and other inflammatory conditions. In recent times, people used lemongrass in their tea to cure inflammation and reduce pain. At the same time, studies suggest that lemongrass is ripe with antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties which could help reduce uric levels in the body.
Other oils like Frankincense not only come with medical benefits, but also cosmetic ones as well. It’s been used by early civilizations to treat an array of skin conditions such as boils, marks, scars and wrinkles too. It boasts of antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that could help mitigate pain associated with gout.
Other oils can be used in complement with other treatments such as wintergreen oil. This particular oil actually approaches the condition from another angle. It helps alleviate kidney problems and improve the organs function so that uric acid does not get a chance to crystallize.
The most popular way of using the above oils for best relief in gout is through massage. Simply dilute the essential oil of your choice with a good carrier oil such as coconut or castor oil and massage the blend over the areas affected.
Follow this procedure for at least 15 minutes and repeat every few hours. Having said that, here are some of the best essential oils I recommend for relief in gout pain. You do not need to use all of them. Just choose a few of your favorites and whisk yourself up a therapeutic mix.
How To Use Essential Oils To Treat Gout
Being a joint inflammation disease, one of the best ways to use essential oils for gout is by way of massage or topical application. The massaging action not only promotes the flow of blood to the affected area, it also facilitates faster healing and recovery.
The skin also absorbs the oils and take them deep into your joints, ligaments and surrounding tissues. I’ll show you some of the best blends to use for topical application of inflamed joints such as knees, toes, elbows, ankles, among others.
Diffusion also helps to some extent, in particular for night time gout attacks as the pain tends to get worse as the night proceeds. Diffusing essential oils allows you to reap their benefits even while sleeping.
But one of the most effective ways to use essential oils for gout has to be baths and foot soaks. They allow the entire affected joint to be enveloped in a soothing mix of hot water and oils which can be as relaxing as it is healing. An Epsom salts bath is recommended for gradual treatment for gout.
Top 13 Essential Oils For Gout Pain Relief
Wintergreen has a pleasing, woodsy fragrance with a strong aroma of mint and a tint of sweetness. Your body will easily soak this oil, offering you immediate relief from pain and discomfort. The immediate response of wintergreen essential oil can be attributed to its cortisone-like impact, which renders a warm sensation and promotes good blood circulation. Good blood circulation decreases uric acid particles and crystals.
Just like wintergreen, birch essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties that help in reducing joint pain. In addition to that, the cleansing effect of birch helps in the removal of uric acid particles. However, make sure that you are using birch bud oil and not sweet or black birch. Sweet birch and black birch must only be used on the advice of a trained aromatherapy professional.
Basil is known for its ability to reduce uric acid content in the blood, making it one of the best essential oils for treating gout pain. It is a fantastic addition to any massage mix or bath oil that you are using for gout pain.
4. Roman / German Chamomile
Chamomile essential oil is used for various skin conditions. It helps reduce pain by numbing the nerves and in the process get rid of the inflammation, which is the major cause of gout pain. Being mild and safe, I have found this essential oil to be highly popular in a wide range of aromatherapy applications.
While Frankincense essential oil is popular for its skin toning, tightening and cleansing effects, it is also a popular remedy for skin disorders like boils, marks, cysts and wrinkles. Frankincense essential oil will help relieve pain instantly, and also help tone your skin to its original state after the gout pain has faded away.
The properties of Clove essential oil are impressive, ranging from improving blood circulation to reducing inflammation in gout patients. It also promotes better function of the immune system.
Fennel is a well-known perennial herb that is in demand for its usefulness in cooking and medicinal value. Fennel essential oil helps to cleanse the skin of impurities, works to reduce uric acid and crystals and is effective for skin health.
While being one of the best essential oils that can help clear your sinuses, eucalyptus is excellent oil which acts as a potent curative for achy and tender joints experienced by gout patients
Due to its strong astringent qualities, I find Rosemary to be one of the most useful essential oils for the treatment of gout. It helps to improve blood circulation and relieves pain by anesthetizing the nerves. This makes it a great alternative treatment for dealing with conditions like rheumatism, arthritis, stiff muscles and gout pain.
Peppermint essential oil is rejuvenating, restorative, low-cost and an extensively used essential oil across the globe. Due to its has anti-inflammatory properties, it is used for treating muscular and joint pain and is a perfect addition to any gout-relieving blend.
Marjoram essential oil is both rejuvenating and stimulating for the skin. It promotes better blood circulation and helps to get rid of uric acid deposits. This reduces muscular pains and other discomforts that gout pain patients suffer from.
12. Tea Tree
Tea tree oil is a must have at any house as it gets used for something almost every day. Its broad spectrum of antifungal and antimicrobial properties makes it ideal for the treatment of conditions like gout. When applied topically, it desensitizes the inflamed endings of the nerve, thus relieving the pain associated with gout.
Lemongrass is one of the most effective essential oils for treating gout. Not only does it have a history of treating other similar inflammatory conditions, but it was a popular remedy used in a herbal tea blend to cure inflammation and reduce pain.
At the same time, studies suggest that lemongrass is ripe with antibacterial and antimicrobial properties which could help reduce uric levels in the body.
What Are The Best Carrier Oils For Gout Pain
In order to make the most of these essential oils, you will need a carrier oil that can quickly spread out the oil on the affected area and prevent any skin irritation. Grapeseed, coconut, jojoba, olive, castor, macadamia and sweet almond oil are some of the most popular carrier oils that can be used. Two of my favorites are fractioned coconut oil and castor oil, which are relatively cheap and last for a longer time.
1. Coconut Oil For Gout
If you suffer from gout, then red, hot and inflamed joints are all part and parcel of your day to day life. Drinking alcohol and consuming certain foods only makes the gout worse. We’ve already seen how essential oils help with gout and other inflammatory conditions. But did you also know that coconut oil might be the secret weapon to defeating your gout once and for all.
Coconut oil contains almost all the nutrients that you would find in mother’s milk. So even before we even get to all the other medicinal values, you’ve already got a natural immune booster right here.
And instead of taking OTC painkillers and corticosteroids that all have dire side effects, coconut oil is absolutely natural and doesn’t have any side effects. When it comes to gout, regular use of coconut oil can bring anti-aging benefits, increase metabolism, reduce body fat, drastically cut down risk of heart attacks, accelerate replacement of dead cells and even protect against cancer.
But what makes coconut oil great for gout patients is because it contains zinc, magnesium and vitamin B complex which are all necessary in controlling the levels of uric acid in the body. Basically all the above essential oil recipes can be assisted with a little carrier help from coconut oil. You can try the following recipe with coconut oil. You can read more about how coconut oil has cured a gout sufferer here.
Fractionated coconut oil Gout recipe
- 6 drops juniper berry
- 9 drops lemongrass
- 3 drops tea tree
- 1 oz. fractionated coconut oil
Combine all the essential oils in a roller bottle and top it off with coconut oil before giving it a proper shake. Once that’s done, you can allow the mix to settle and then roll it onto the areas affected by gout. This includes the knees, wrists, fingers, toes, ankles and any other achy joints.
2. Castor Oil For Gout
Looking at castor oil, you’d be surprised just how many centuries the humble oil has been used as a natural remedy for hundreds of ailments. In fact, some of the smartest ancient civilizations like Egypt, Africa, and India all used castor oil as a cure for various diseases dating back 4000 years ago. If you’re looking to take the pain and inflammation out of gout, then the following recipe is brewed up just for you.
Castor Oil Recipe for Gout
What you need:
- Cold pressed castor oil
- Flannel cloth
- Plastic wrap
Cut the flannel cloth up and soak it in the cold pressed castor oil. Remove the cloth and apply it to the affected area. Of course, the size of the affected joint will determine the size of your flannel cloth.
Wrap the castor oil soaked cloth on the affected joint and then cover it with plastic wrap so the oil does not drip onto your bedding. Relax for about an hour before removing the castor oil wrap from the affected area.
6 Essential Oil Recipes For Immediate Relief From Gout Pain
For treating gout pain, all you need is a blend of the above-mentioned essential oils which work to reduce the swelling, irritation and calm down the affected area. Here are some of the essential oil remedies I have personally tried and tested for their effectiveness in relieving gout pain:
1. Hot Towel Compress
For fast and immediate relief I suggest following the recipe below:
- Immerse the affected area in cold water. This gets the blood moving slowly.
- Pat the skin dry.
- Add 3-6 drops each of your chosen essential oils in a tablespoon of carrier oil and then carefully massage the blend over the impacted area.
- Put a soaked hot towel on top of where you have used the essential oils.
- Keep the towel over the aching locations for a minimum of 3 minutes.
- Repeat 2-3 times daily or as required.
2. Massage Blends
You can also make use of an essential oil massage for sustainable relief in gout pain. Here are some great massage blends that you can use for quick relief:
Mix 1 – Frankincense, Peppermint and Chamomile Blend
In a 1/6 oz (5 ml) glass dropper bottle, add:
- 4 drops of frankincense
- 6 drops of peppermint
- 10 drops of roman chamomile
In a non-reactive bowl, add 1 ounce (30 ml) fractionated coconut oil or sweet almond oil and mix in the above essential oil blend. Combine well and massage impacted locations very gently at least 3 times a day.
Mix 2 – Marjoram, Lavender and Rosemary Blend
- 7 drops marjoram
- 6 drops lavender
- 8 drops rosemary
- 1 oz. carrier oil (jojoba, sesame, grapeseed)
Add all the ingredients in the above-mentioned quantities in a glass bowl and mix well. Massage this blend over the painful locations very gently 2 times a day.
Mix 3 – Lemongrass and Tea Tree Oil Blend
Add 5 drops each of lemongrass and tea tree oil to 2 tablespoons of carrier oil (castor, argan, macadamia). Massage the afflicted locations 2-3 times a day.
3. Foot Bath / Soak
- Blend 2 tablespoon milk and 15 drops of essential oil of peppermint, wintergreen or clove.
- Fill 2 foot baths with water. One cool and one warm.
Add the essential oil blend to each of the basin in equal proportions. Soak your feet in the warm water basin for 5 minutes, and then move them to cool water one for the same period of 5 minutes. Gently massage any drifting oil droplets onto the afflicted locations. Repeat as necessary.
4. Basic Cold & Hot Compress
Hot Compress Wrap:
Much like the hot towel compress, you can use this hot compress to reduce stiffness and discomfort. Follow this procedure 1-2 times daily. Here are the ingredients to use:
- 5 drops of black pepper, marjoram or rosemary essential oil
- 1 hot compression wrap
Cold Compress Wrap:
Use cold compress wrap 1-2 times daily, to reduce swelling and pain. Here are the ingredients to use:
- 3 drops of sage
- 2 drops of lemongrass
- 1 cold compression wrap
5. Purifying Epsom Salt Bath
- 4 drops of juniper berry
- 5 drops of clove
- 3 drops of lemongrass
- 2-3 handfuls of epsom salt
Add the essential oils and salt to your warm bath prior to getting in it. Repeat daily for 2 weeks or more, if required. Do not hesitate in trying different essential oil blends.
6. Soothing Lemongrass Massage Blend
- 15 drops lemongrass
- 5 drops chamomile
- 4 drops peppermint
- 6 drops frankincense
- 2 oz. castor carrier oil
Mix all the above ingredients in a dark dropper bottle starting with the essential oils. Top it off with the castor oil and shake well. Use the blend to massage the affected joint deeply at least three times every day.
Precautions When Using Essential Oils For Gout
If pregnant or for the elderly, I would recommend that you take advice of your doctor prior to using any essential oil for gout treatment. Individuals dealing with conditions like epilepsy and hypertension must avoid the use of rosemary, clove, eucalyptus, fennel essential oil.
The rest of the essential oils I have mentioned in this article are generally safe to use, are non-sensitizing and non-irritating for people suffering from gout pain. As always, please do a skin test patch before any topical application.
Natural Remedies For Gout
In addition to the application of essential oils, a diet enriched with natural proteins and vitamins and limiting the use of alcohol can significantly help in avoiding swelling of the joints, which is a common symptom of gout pain.
You could also consume 1-2 drops of lemon essential oil in a glass of warm water daily to keep gout pain attacks at bay, however please consult your doctor before ingesting any essential oils. In addition, food supplements that fulfill your body’s nutritional requirements can help you handle gout pain more effectively.
Below, you’ll find some of the most effective natural home remedies that you can use for gout; and the best part if you should be able to find most of these ingredients in your kitchen.
Bananas contain some very helpful components which are believed to help both treat and prevent gout. For starters, these yellow skinned fruits are rich in potassium. This is a crucial nutrient which helps all the tissues and organs in your body function properly.
However, other studies also show that some types of bananas are rich in sugars including fructose. So don’t overdo-it on the bananas, and combine them with avocados and dark leafy vegetables.
An apple a day keeps the pharmacist at bay – this saying has never proved truer as it does today for gout patients. Numerous health authorities actually recommend eating apples as part of your gout reducing diet. That’s because apples contain malic acid which shows a lot of promise when it comes to lowering the levels of uric acid in the bloodstream.
Activated charcoal may be infamous as one of the most effective home remedies for poisoning, but it has more than one trick up its darkened sleeves. When it comes to gout, it uses the same principle to lend a helping hand.
The charcoal actually absorbs uric acid and prevents it from crystallizing and collecting in the joints and tendons. This in turn reduces the effects of gout on your body. But word of caution, do not ingest the charcoal. Try to use a topical oil paste that you can apply to the affected joint or soak in a charcoal bath.
Bet you didn’t see this one coming. What, you didn’t think that you were just going to eat apples and bananas and say goodbye to years of gout now, did you? Well, exercise is the ultimate natural remedy for each and every single ailment on God’s green earth.
Exercising or jogging regularly helps to reduce the uric acid levels in your bloodstream by normalizing the insulin levels. So if you have diabetes or are looking to prevent it, nothing works better than hitting a couple miles of open road every day. Exercise also helps prevent the severity and frequency of gout flare ups.
Lemon Juice and Baking Soda
It’s chemistry 101 people; what better way to reduce the strength of an acid than to introduce an alkaline environment? This is what some pharmaceuticals aim to achieve. Lemon juice helps reduce uric acid levels in the body by alkalizing the body.
However, this remedy is best used with another equally powerful ingredient – baking soda. Combining half a teaspoon of baking soda with lemon juice and drinking immediately four times a day should see your uric levels reduce substantially.
A 2018 study showed that deficiency of magnesium may worsen chronic inflammation in the body. As such, it’s a good idea to use the magnesium as a dietary mineral. Low magnesium levels in the body have been associated with high uric acid levels and a potential of developing gout.
Try to take the supplements or foods rich in magnesium. Alternatively, some people recommend taking an Epsom salts bath to reduce the risk of gout flare ups. While the amount of magnesium in Epsom salts is dismal, daily bath come with their own benefits.
One of the key symptoms of gout apart from pain and swelling is a hot, burning feeling in the joints. Combined with the anti-inflammatory nature of cool temperatures, a cold compress is just what the doctor ordered for gout.
Whenever the pain gets unbearable, you can just soak the entire joint in cold water or use a wet towel over the area. Medical experts also recommend alternating between a hot and cold compress for best results.
Dietary triggers are the most common causes of gout. That’s why avoiding these triggers might just be the best natural treatment and prevention measure of them all.
Keeping away from sugar, seafood, alcohol, red meat, and sweetened drinks is advisable if you have a high risk factor for gout. Instead, change your diet to favor legumes, whole grains, low fat-dairy, fruits, vegetables and low sugar foods.
Likewise, make sure you drink plenty of water which is essential for proper kidney function. And if you’re overweight, try to maintain a desirable body weight which will help you avoid more health issues than just gout.
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The Final Word
Ever since I have started using essential oils, they have never let me down. Just use single essential oils or follow the above recipes for quick and effective pain relief from gout. You can also give my own L’orpur blend a try – why not read the various testimonials before you make the plunge.