Few things in life are more painful than a gout attack, so if you’re awakened in the wee hours by a joint that is tender, swollen, red and radiating heat, you’ll want to act fast. Here’s what you can do when a gout attack starts to ease the pain of the attack and reduce the risk of others. Start treatment immediately with over-the-counter ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen(Aleve), but never take aspirin, which can actually worsen an attack.
If you have had an attack before and your doctor has prescribed an anti-inflammatory medication to take in the event of another, take your prescribed medication as your doctor directed. If you are already taking a uric acid-lowering drug to reduce the risk of attacks, continue to take that drug through this attack.
Ice down. Applying an ice pack to the painful joint may help ease pain and inflammation. Wrap a pack (a bag of crushed ice or frozen peas will also do) in a dish cloth and apply to the area for 20 to 30 minutes at a stretch several times a day.
Let your doctor know what is going on right away. She may prescribe a new medication or have you come to the office for a joint fluid test (to confirm the gout diagnosis) or an injection of a corticosteroid to start relieving inflammation quickly. Getting treatment within the first 24 hours of the start of an attack can lessen its length and severity.