What Is A Gout Massage...
And Can It Help With My Symptoms?
'On The Face Of It, Touching Gout Is Almost Always Bad News'
The Short Answer –
What Is a gout massage? Can it help the searing pain of a gout attack? Can it alleviate the triggers of hyperuricemia and if not, does it have any role in a gout treatment plan at all?
We look at the case for and against, reaching the conclusion that a gout massage could play some role in delaying your next attack of symptoms…
What Is A Gout Massage – And It’s Role With Arthritis
Gout as a condition has it’s roots as a version of arthritis, hence the formal term ‘gouty arthritis’ as it is often known.
Massage as a treatment for arthritis in general is highly recommended. Indeed, The Arthritis Foundation specifically recommends massage for its impact on joints.
Massage is effective when dealing with other forms of arthritis because it has been found to lower the bodies’ stress hormone ‘cortisol’, reduces some of the inflammation creators known as cytokines including cytokines IL4 and IL10.
This is on top of helping to increase production of a hormone known as serotonin – a hormone with a serious reputation for boosting moods that can actually make pain feel less important.
A gout massage then is effectively just a massage of gout affected joints.
What Is A Gout Massage – The Differences And Where It Could Be Used….
However, unlike other forms of arthritis, gout is not an auto-immune disease or based on the erosion of joints. Gout is centred around the build up of uric acid in your stomach (also known as hyperuricemia) which leads to the creation of urate crystals that in turn start to attack joints.
Just because massage works for general arthritis does not in any way guarantee success with gout, especially since gout attacks tend to revolve around ‘flares’ that would be far too painful to massage when fully swollen anyway.
Because the pain of a gout flare can be so intense, massage therapy is not recommended during the height of an attack.
For this reason alone, a gout massage can only really be used between attacks with the purpose of reducing general ache and putting off future attacks.
It is worth remembering however at this point that some of the many benefits of general massage therapy include stress reduction, joint stiffness and general pain levels.
It is unclear however, exactly why massaging works for any form of arthritis, let alone gout. But for many patients it does seem to. If you also accept that, providing you don’t do it during an attack, there will be very few side effects – then arguably you have very little to lose.
The American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation suggested there was limited evidence to prove that massage therapy was more successful than other treatments, but if there is just a chance of it being better than the other options, then I am definitely giving it serious consideration.
Furthermore, as massage has been proven to increase blood flow and therefore blood oxygen saturation, then massaging your joints that have recently been affected by gout is likely to get them back to full strength much quicker thanks to the better blood circulation.
Massage has also been shown to improve lymph drainage – which can help to detox your skin and actually help to keep your liver and kidneys healthy.
This could conceivably then also help with uric acid clearance as a healthy kidney is essential for this.
The Final Word –
So what is a gout massage? Well, put simply it is a massage of previously affected gout areas (joints such as knees, wrists etc) during a period that you are not actually experiencing a gouty arthritis flare up.
Can A Gout Massage Be Effective? Absolutely, both stress and lack of sleep can cause more frequent gout attacks and both are greatly helped by regular massages.
Not to mention the ability to exercise – a key contributor to putting back gout flares, which can be taken on much earlier after a flare up as your joints will ache less and be more mobile much faster with massage.
The bad news…
The downsides? Don’t use massage therapy if you have seriously damaged joints (cartilage or brittle bone) as it could make it much worse and NEVER have a gout massage during a flare – rest and follow our other guidance (elevation of joints etc), but don’t touch the affected joints and certainly don’t massage them!
Gout massages can have a clear role in a gout treatment plan – but only between attacks for helping to increase the time between each flare and potentially reducing their severity when they do come.
So…. what is a gout massage? Another potentially very useful tool in the fight against gout you might say!
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