Gout Pain and Chinese Medicine

Gout Pain and Chinese Medicine

7 March 2016 by Caitlin Armit

What is Gout?

Gout is an incredibly painful type of arthritis that occurs more frequently in men than women. It is the result of excessive uric acid build-up which crystallises and deposits in the joints of the body. The build up can be visible as hard, warm, red lumps under the skin, especially when it appears quite commonly in the big toe.

Gout is sometimes called “the rich man’s disease” as it is largely due to lifestyle factors including a rich diet, drug or alcohol use, high stress and lack of physical activity. An acute flare up is known as a gout attack and may resolve within 1-2 weeks, though these flare ups may occur as little as once a year.

So what is uric acid? It forms from the breakdown of substances known as ‘purines’ found in body tissue and certain foods. It should dissolve in blood, pass through the kidneys and be excreted as urine but if the balance of uric acid and excretion is compromised gout can occur. Risk factors include family history, male gender, obesity, alcoholism, purine-rich diet, enzyme defects, lead exposure, organ transplants and some medications.

Does acupuncture help?

Though pain relief medications are the usual Western Medicine treatment, the best plan of attack is to modify your lifestyle through diet, exercise and avoiding alcohol.

Chinese Medicine also attributes much of the cause of gout to inappropriate diet. Rich and greasy foods (oil, deep fried), hot foods (curry, chilli) and heating drinks (alcohol) contribute to an excess of ‘heat’ and ‘damp’ pathogens in the Spleen and Stomach organs. The combination of these two pathogens results in ‘phlegm’ – a concept which is similar to congealed/stagnated/impure fluids such as swelling. Chinese Medicine also acknowledges that stress and anger contribute to heat in the body and interfere with normal digestion (liver pathologies) and that ageing typically results in a weakened physical state therefore making the body more susceptible to disease (kidney pathologies).

Acupuncture points are typically selected along the Spleen, Stomach and Kidney meridians to clear heat, damp and phlegm from these organs and locally to the affected painful joints. Chinese Herbs can also be taken to clear pathogens and reduce pain, however once again, lifestyle changes are necessary for best results.



Acupuncture for gouty arthritis: a concise report of a systematic and meta-analysis approach

Update on the Clinical Effect of Acupuncture Therapy in Patients with Gouty Arthritis: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Categories: Brisbane Acupuncture Blog | Brisbane Chinese Dietetics Blog | Pain Relief Brisbane | Stress Management Brisbane

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