How to get Rid of a Headache

how to get rid of a headacheHave you ever wondered if you could get rid of a headache without taking pain killers? Or perhaps, you’ve taken one or more pain killers and still couldn’t get the headache to entirely go away.  In my pain-relief article from a couple of years ago, I mentioned that Aleve was the most effective pain killer for permanently getting rid of a typical tension headache or the headache you get from too much alcohol consumption. There are a couple of problems with Aleve, however: One, it takes a while to work (as much as 2-3 hours). Two, Aleve is an NSAID (non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory), meaning it does present the risk of gastrointestinal side effects. I speak from first-hand knowledge when I say that Aleve, especially after prolonged use, wreaks havoc on the digestive system. One or two advil is another way to get rid of a headache – and it seems to go to work quicker than the aleve; both on the headache and the stomach ache. Advil is also an NSAID and while it goes to work quicker on the headache than aleve, it doesn’t seem to last as long. My headaches always seem to return about 4 hours after taking advil and along with a  gut-ache.  So, I guess the question is, how to get rid of a headache, naturally? Before we can answer that question, it would helpful to know what actually causes a headache.

What Causes a Headache?

I think headache causes fall under three main categories: Allergies and Sinus Trouble, Dehydration and Tension.Obviously, other things like sleep problems and alcohol play a role too, but as I will explain, they all fall under these three categories.

Allergies and Sinus Trouble

Allergies just aren’t caused by pollen, animal fur and other things we breath into our lungs. Allergies also can be caused by what we eat. I’ve often suspected that wheat and refined sugars can cause a headache along with allergies and sinus problems. There are many other things in our foods that can cause headaches such as nitrites and MSG. I can almost consistenly count on getting a very dull, all-over-the-head, headache the morning after eating more than 2 Bratwursts for dinner. Over indulgence in alcohol can obviously cause a headache too, but I think this falls under the category of allergies and dehydration.  Usually, my headaches come-on in early in the morning and continually get worse until I take something to stop it. Since allergies and sinuses affect us most when we sleep, it is no surprise that the stuffy, itchy nose has a good chance of turning into a massive headache, especially, if we’ve been drinking on top of that (See below). Have you ever felt great relief from a sneeze? That’s a good sign that you’re having an allergy headache.


Drinking too much alcohol can certainly cause the dreaded hangover headache. This is due to both, dehydration and the body’s allergic reaction to the toxins in the high amounts of alcohol ingested. There are plenty of other ways to get dehydrated other than just drinking too much alcohol. Have you ever traveled all day or had important business appointments and realized you weren’t drinking much if any water?  You may have blamed your headache on tension from your busy day and unfamiliar surroundings when in reality, it could actually be dehydration. Unfortunately, by the time you realize you’ve not drank enough water, it is too late – the damage is already done. Dehydration is a very common cause of a headache.


There are other times when we’ve drank plenty of water, abstained from alcohol and have completely no allergy problems when a headache forms in the back of our head. Tension headaches are the result of stress and easy to identify when we feel them coming on and realize the mood we were in when it occurred.  A tension headache doesn’t have to be confined to just the back of the head, but it often is in a completely different place than the typical allergy headaches. Lack of sleep or change in sleep patterns can also cause tension headaches.

Avoiding Headaches

Once we’ve identified what causes a headache, we become far more aware of the triggers and signs for preventing them. Obviously, the best way to get rid of a headache is to prevent it from happening in the first place. That is sometimes easier said that done. Still, it may be easier to avoid a headache than to get rid of one once it’s with us. Despite staying hydrated, avoiding alcohol and allergy-causing foods and triggers, sometimes headaches still occur. Taking anti-inflammatory drugs like Naproxen and Ibuprofen everyday are not only hard on the stomach, but we can actually become too dependent on them, which in-turn can actually increase the frequency of headaches. Rebound headaches occur when our body forgets how to naturally avoid them and let them heal on their own. A better, long-term, natural headache remedy is to train your body to cope with it on its own. In my own personal experience, I’ve that almost all headaches will go away on their own within 24-hours whether medication is used or not.  But, who wants to go 24 hours putting up with the constant, nagging pain? It will wear you out. Thankfully, there are a few things we can do to relieve the pain and get us through the ordeal.

How to Get Rid of a Headache

7 Natural Headache Remedies

  • Since Rinses
    I’ve found that the  Sinus Rinse and Alkalol remedy for sinus pressure works almost instantly in relieving headaches associated with allergy problems. Do the rinse immediately at the first onset of headache pain and continue using it every 2 hours.
  • Cold Compresses
    Applying a cold ice pack to the area where the head hurts provides almost instant relief. Gently apply the ice for about 7 minutes at a time as needed. Doing this has gotten rid of some of my headaches completely. To some, especially during the cold winter months, ice might seem counter-intuitive as opposed to heat. Because headaches are caused by inflamed blood vessels, heat might actually make it worse even though it might sound good. Try the ice, but don’t over do it.
  • Cayenne Pepper
    Cayenne pepper has proven to be a very effective natural medication for a variety of aches and pains. I’ve even endorsed Capsaicin Cream for arthritis pain: Capzasin HP. I doubt it would be helpful to rub the Capsaicin cream on your forehead. A more effective way to get the benefits of peppers is by either eating them or inhaling an over-the-counter, homeopathic nasal spray. Sinus Buster provides instant relief and is even more effective after doing the  sinus rinse described above.
  • Steam
    Applying direct heat to a headache might not be good, but a hot, steamy shower is often very helpful for relieving allergy/sinus related headaches.
  • Exercise
    Twenty to thirty minutes of aerobic exercise will often make my headaches completely go away. I realize that Jogging, cycling, etc., is the last thing you feel like you want to do when your head is throbbing, but it really helps. Start-out slow and it gets easier as you go.
  • Coffee
    A good, strong cup of coffee nearly always relieves my headaches almost right away. Caffeine is a proven pain remedy. The pain usually comes back after the coffee wears off, but at least it’s a tasty way to get started in the morning and improve the outlook of your day.
  • Relax and Breathe
    Relaxing, deep breaths can often provide immediate relief from headache pain. Don’t gasp for air when you breath – just take deep, natural breaths; hold for a few seconds and exhale slowly and fully.

Is there any one, single, sure-fire, cure-all, but natural, cure for the common headache? Probably not. Will the things above help you feel better while you practice the will-power of refraining from resorting to the medicine cabinet? Absolutely. These seven, natural headache remedies will make your headaches more tolerable until it eventually subsides on its own. By resisting the urge to take over-the-counter, pain pills, you will eventually learn how to cope with headaches in a much more natural, healthier way – and hopefully experience far less of them.

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Arnicare Arnica Gel

arnicare arnica gel

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I finally decided to give Arnicare Arnica Gel a try after throwing my back out last Saturday. Arnicare arnica gel is a natural, homeopathic pain relief remedy which supposedly provides instant relief from pain and stiffness of sore muscles, bones and joints. I have known about Arnica for a couple of years but was hesitant to try it as I am with all natural, homeopathic remedies. Does Arnica gel and these other natural creams really work or are we just throwing are money away and thinking they work long after the pain would have naturally subsided on its own, anyway? Furthermore, what is actually in this Arnicare gel product that is scientifically proven to reduce or relieve pain? Something doesn’t gel. I decided to look up this peculiar arnica gel and find out.

What is Arnica?

what is arnicaArnica is made up of numerous herbs from the sunflower family. Crazy, isn’t it? Sunflower herbs are supposed to cure an aching, sore, painful back and other muscles and also relieve stiffness? Arnica, is a greek-derived name referring to the soft, hairy leaves of the herb. (Arnica doesn’t sound much like a gel does it?) As you can see from the picture of the arnica derived plant, it actually looks somewhat like a long-leafed sunflower. Why anyone would think that the oils or gel from these Arnica herbs could actually be used as a pain remedy? I haven’t the slightest idea. I suppose the best answer is that studies of other cultures have proven that arnica has been used for centuries among many civilizations as a pain remedy. Turning it into a gel obviously makes it easier to rub arnica into the skin. Despite its history, however, there is absolutely no scientific studies or research that have proven arnica, much less arnicare arnica gel is an effective pain-relief remedy. This explains my hesitance to use or try these gel or cream products. The arnica gel, itself is clear with a very slight, yellow tint. Arnica looks like a clear-yellow , think gel. Though the makers of Arnicare arnica gel say it has no odor, it does have a little bit of a scent which sort of reminds me a little of a sweet, dandelion or weed with a bit of alcohol aroma. Arnica does not have an unpleasant odor and seems to dissipate after you’ve applied the gel. So, that explains what arnica gel is, the next question is, does arnica gel really work?

Does Arnica Gel Work?

I can only speak for myself, but personal experience is the best research for natural pain medications, isn’t it? When I throw my back-out, the pain and stiffness is severe and the first three days it is nearly impossible to straighten my back when I walk. I wouldn’t even dream of expecting a natural, pain gel to help such a severe pain. At the onset of pain I usually begin the anti-inflammatory treatment which consists of either Aleve or Advil. As much as I like Aleve for headaches and other problems, it did very little for my back. This was confirmed when I called my doctor, asking for a muscle relaxant the next day. The nurse told me that Ibuprofin or Advil is much better for back pain and now I believe her. I bought the Arnicare arnica gel on the 3rd day of my malady as I was already loosening up and getting better. I applied some arnica gel to my lower back and experienced absolutely no difference in the symptoms. While my back was getting better on its own, I went back to the Capsaicin Cream which is also a natural remedy derived from hot peppers, but is a cream and not a gel. Unlike the arnica gel, Capsaicin cream actually provides a warming, heat sensation and really does provide some relief from the stiffness and pain – most noticeably, the stiffness. Does arnica gel work? My answer is, no. My recommendation for pain-relief cream is Capzasin HP Capsaicin Cream.

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Hip Socket Pain

Hip Socket Pain
Possible Cause and Solution

Hip Socket PainWhat causes hip socket paint (upper leg joint) and how do you fix it? The answer might not be the same for everyone, but I’ve discovered the secret to what caused mine and how to cure it. I really do believe a great many people can benefit from the exact same solution, but first you must understand and believe what is really causing your leg to feel as though it is being ripped from the socket. If you are suffering or have been suffering from this debilitating, crippling pain, I have a very simple explanation and solution. First, let’s make sure we’re talking about the same type of pain:

Hip Socket Pain Symptoms

The best way I can describe this upper leg socket pain is that it feels like my leg is literally being pulled out of the socket, near the inside of the hip and groin. At it’s worst, it becomes nearly impossible to lift my leg and certain positions make the pain excruciating. It is difficult to walk and even sleep at times. I felt the first symptoms of this about 40 years ago when I was only a 4th grader. I could barely walk, let alone play football and enjoy my other favorite activities outside with my friends. Overtime the pain and stiffness in the joint loosened up, but it took several weeks for the pain to completely subside. Since that time, the pain and symptoms have returned several times. After 40 years, I’ve learned to live and cope with this mysterious ailment, but until recently I never took much of an interest in actually identifying the problem and curing it. The pain and stiffness always occurs in my right, upper leg. Some quick internet research proves that this is true of most of us who suffer the problem and perhaps lends a clue to its cause as I’ll explain later. First, let me make it clear that my discovery of the cause and solution had very little to do with scientific, systematic research. In fact, I know very little about human anatomy. One of the things that makes this ailment and pain so difficult and troublesome is that it is really hard to identify and point out the exact location. The best way I can describe it is that the pain is deep inside where ice or heat cannot even touch the affected area. If I was going to use a pain medication cream, I wouldn’t even know where to put it. It wasn’t until I explored my physical habits, posture and tendencies that I stumbled upon the answer to this problem.

The Real Cause of Leg and Hip Socket Pain

I am convinced that my own, upper leg joint and hip socket pain is emotionally caused. Call it nervous tics; anxiety; stress or whatever else you want, but my own physical habits and posture are to blame. One day as I was sitting at my desk at work, something very revealing dawned on me: I was constantly torquing my leg; twisting it, crossing it, folding it under my lap; bending it. As I analyzed that, the whole thing hit my like a ton of bricks. Of course, my leg socket and hip joint were hurting! It is of no surprise that it feels like my leg is being pulled from it’s socket. While I’m sitting at my desk, I’m constantly twisting my right leg and putting stress on it. Over time, the constant pressure and stress of unnaturally bending my right leg is bound to make the joint in my hip hurt. I’m damaging my own body, what else would I expect but to feel the effects from that? Yet, why would I do such a thing and why only the right leg?

Obsessive Compulsive Behavior

Years ago in grade school, I remember how I used to bend my upper right jaw while I was sitting at my desk in school. I had no reason for it, but I kept doing it until it hurt. This is a classic example of obsessive compulsive behavior, yet I wasn’t aware of it. Days later, my jaw and gums would be so incredibly sore,  I could barely stand to eat or drink a glass of water. The pain was excruciating, yet for some odd reason I was not even aware of what caused my own hip socket pain. It would take me several days to discipline myself to stop repeating the same obsessive, compulsive habit that was causing injury to my jaw. Does this sound familiar to you at all? This is the exact same thing that is going on with my right leg. When I analyzed my posture while sitting at work at my desk or even at home watching TV, I noticed I was doing some very unnatural bending and twisting of my leg. Once I noticed the behavioral pattern, trying to get myself to stop caused me great anxiety. It was a very restless feeling, yet I knew that I would have to discipline myself to give it a chance to work. I made a mental list of the do’s and don’ts for curing my own, upper-leg, socket hip-joint pain.

How to Cure Yourself of the Pain

The Dos and Donts to relieve the Pain

Things You Shouldn’t Do

  • Avoid Crossing the Legs: It became obvious to me, that leg crossing puts unnatural stress on the hip joint and socket where the upper thigh part of the leg meets.
  • Don’t lock the knees: Locking my knees in place while standing or sitting puts pressure on the same hip joint. Don’t do it!
  • Don’t sit on either one of your legs. Doing so is a great way to pull that hip joint away from the hip socket. Who wants to do that?
  • Don’t twist or bend the legs. That’s putting stress on the ball joint thus causing hip socket pain over time.

Things you Should Do

  • Sit Straight with an upright posture.
  • Keep both legs and toes facing straight forward
  • Resist the temptation and compulsion to twist, turn and contort your legs and hips. Relax and stand up whenever you feel the urge to contort.
  • When Driving keep toes pointed towards the road.  Probably another reason that hip pain is usually in the right hip is because that is we use the gas and brake pedals with our right feet.

Ultimately, the cure for the painful leg socket pain is to resist the urge and nervous compulsion to twist, contort and bend the legs and lock the knees. When I first recognized the bad habit of my posture, it took some very strict discipline to get myself to stop. Like any type of OCD behavior, forcing one’s self to practice good posture takes tremendous discipline and will-power.   At first, I felt the overwhelming urge to twist my leg and twist it hard – until it hurt. It caused me great anxiety to resit the temptation to fall back into my old habits. My desire and certainty that there was a light at the end of the tunnel is what gave me the perseverance to stop the destructive habit.  I also believe that because I’m right-handed and most people are right-handed is a clue to all of this. Most of us are right handed and we put the most emphasis and weight on our right arms and legs. If you research this hip-socket ailment on Google, most of the inquiries are for the right, upper leg. Another common link to the upper, right leg pain seems to be lower back problems. I am unsure whether or not the lower back causes the nervous twitch that throws my hip and leg out of alignment. It is quite possible that the nervous tics and bad habits with my posture are the reason for the lower back problems in the first place. One word of encourage: It is most difficult to give up the bad, physical tics in the first two days. The upside is that I immediately began to feel relief from the pain after day two, which encouraged me to continue disciplining myself and avoid the bad tendencies which were putting stress on my leg socket and hip joint. The light at the end of the tunnel is to freedom from the pain and much better, more fluid and easier motion of the leg. Ultimately, perhaps the leg and hip joint once completely healed will lead to better overall posture which in turn will result in freedom from the lower back pain and stiffness. Good posture means everything.  As of this writing, my leg-hip-socket-joint pain is nearly unnoticeable. This is after only two days. I look forward to continuing the effort in getting rid of these destructive habits which wreak havoc on the mind and body. If by any chance, you’re also one who suffers from leg joint and hip socket pain, please let me know how this works for you.

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Memorial Day Mattress Sale

Memorial Day Mattress SaleWhat is it about Memorial Day that impels us to go shopping for a new mattress? Perhaps, it has something to do with that sore back from raking leaves, gardening and getting the law ready for summer that makes people appreciate the need for a better night’s sleep. We don’t buy new mattresses very often – maybe once every 10-15 years – and I vividly remember purchasing my last two mattresses right around the Memorial Day weekend. This is probably no great coincidence as the newspaper is filled with Memorial Day Mattress Sales from every retailer from virtually every retailer that sells them. It is the power of suggestion and the memorial day ads that bring people to the local mattress store – or perhaps entices us to shop for mattresses online. Next mattress I buy will definitely include lots of online shopping. Buying a bed that two people agree on is a challenge that either requires a couple of compromises or a huge budget for one of those mattresses with variable firmness controls for each person. While memorial day sales might bring people into the stores to find the best mattress prices, the high pressure sales techniques are likely to keep you from finding the right one. My recommendation is to get several opinions from mattress users online before visiting the mattress store. What do those say who actually sleep on them? That doesn’t mean you have to buy online – you can still take advantage of those weekend sales. But being prepared will give you a stronger position when you begin negotiating for the bed you really want. I decided to do some quick research on beds to find what’s popular and what you should be looking for at your mattress retailer during the sales this weekend.

Popular Memorial Day Bed Sales

Take a look at the Textrade Queen Inner Spring Pillow Top mattress which sells online and comes shipped in a tightly packed, vacuum-sealed box for under $300.00. (The King Size is under $400) Over 50 users of this mattress rated it 4-Stars.

Simmons Beauty Rest

The more popular memorial day choice at retailers is the Simmons Beauty Rest.
The Tomahawk and Black River Bay are high quality, plush queen mattresses which are heavily discounted at your local mattress resellers this memorial day weekend. The ratings on these mattresses range from 3.5 – 4.5 stars. The material is good and they are made to last 10-15 years. So before you hit the stores this holiday weekend, see what’s on sale online then shop ’til you drop into a nice, comfy bed.

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Gout Prevention

how to prevent goutIf you’re like me – and recently recovered from a prolonged gout attack, you are probably nervously wondering what you have to do to make sure you never go through this unusually painful, crippling trauma all over again. It’s bad enough when a gout attack gets you down for 3-5 days, but when the swelling and pain lasts for several weeks, it can be a life changing experience – one that you don’t ever want to go through again. The question then becomes, can you prevent a gout attack with reasonable changes to your lifestyle that won’t completely take the food, drink and fun completely out of your life? I am convinced there is a reasonable plan for preventing gout attacks. From my last, and most lengthy gout attack, I learned there are five Rules of action and prevention we should pay attention to in order to avoid re-occurrence of this burdensome ailment:

The Five Rules for Gout Prevention

  1. Starving to Death isn’t the answer
  2. Teetotalers Get Gout Too
  3. Not all water is created equal
  4. Don’t be an extremist.
  5. When gout pain starts, treat it early and often

A Gout-Free Lifestyle


Starving to death will definitely stop a gout attack dead in it’s tracks; both literally and figuratively. It may sound like I’m being faceitious, but as any gout victim knows, following the dietary restrictions and low purine diets from websites and doctors will eliminate all food from your diet. Just because high purine foods are associated with uric acid doesn’t mean they are the villain. Remember, an association is not a cause. For example, for years we’ve been told that foods which are high in cholesterol and saturated fats cause elevated cholesterol levels in our blood. That has been proven false: Fat and Cholesterol Myths. What’s worse, not everyone agrees on what foods are good for avoiding gout or what foods are bad for causing gout. A bit of common sense and moderation is in order here: For instance, know that lots of rich and processed meats probably are putting you at increased risk. That doesn’t mean you can’t eat bacon or other rich, red meat – it just means be reasonable and moderate. For instance, I noticed that my gout attacks often occurred after prolonged diets of rich ham and soups after the holidays, so I try to avoid prolonged, frequent, repetitive eating of those foods. Everything in life requires balance. Eat the foods you like, but make sure it is not too heavy on one particular type. Incorporate variety and enjoy them all. Eliminating something that is nutritious and good is counterproductive and could result in other health problems. Don’t make unhealthy habits a part of your gout prevention plan.


Notice how whenever we have health problems the first thing doctors tell us to do is tell us to stop eating and drinking all of the things we like: No alcohol; no coffee; no red meat – no fun! It feels like we are being punished for enjoying life. Does it have to be this way? For obvious reasons, alcohol and coffee can play a role in a gout attack because these things dehydrate body. By dehydrating our bodies we are promoting a higher concentration of uric acid production and prohibiting it from being flushed out through our kidneys. While alcohol and coffee can be contributing factors, they alone, are not the cause. I know people who don’t touch alcohol or coffee and who get gout attacks regularly. I also know of heavy drinkers who have never had a gout attack. Knowing how painful it is, if completely eliminating alcohol and coffee from our lifestyle was the answer, I think most gout sufferers would willingly make the decision to avoid coffee and alcohol for the sake of life free of gout attacks. Fortunately, that kind of extremism is not necessary. Why turn things we enjoy into the villain when they clearly play only one role in the problem? Gout is caused by a number of things and a combination of lifestyle choices. I will continue to enjoy alcoholic beverages and coffee in moderation as long as I know I’m drinking plenty of good water. That takes us to point number three in preventing or minimizing gout attacks.

gout prevention


Good and Bad Water: Is there a difference? I would have thought all water was pretty much the same. It’s wet, right? Not quite. Actually, not all water hydrates your body the same. Through all of my reading of the dozens and dozens of articles on gout I gained a better appreciation for water and how it hydrates the body. Cold water, for example, isn’t as hydrating as water drank at room temperature. The other important factor is the alkalinity of water. Water which is too low in PH is not nearly as beneficial as water which is higher than PH. Distilled water or bottled water is so low in PH that it can actually be counter-productive for hydration. Our water should be alkalizing enough to neutralize the acid that causes gout crystals to form. Our bodies PH balance is around 7.2 to 7.5. A perfect PH balance for water is between 8 and 9. Using my pool testing kit, I measured the PH balance of my tap water and bottled water. The tap water is 7.3 (which isn’t too bad). The bottled water is only 5.6 PH. Perhaps that explains why I always still feel thirsty after drinking bottled water? Numerous gout sufferers have sworn by the success of a gout remedy which prescribes an 8 ounce glass of water and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda every two hours. This might be a good way to fight a gout attack after it is already under way, but that much baking soda is not necessary as a means of warding off a gout attack. I’ve found that adding 1/8th teaspoon of baking soda to my tap water raises the PH from about 7.3 to 8.0. Another way to drink healthier water is to squeeze fresh lemons it. Though Lemons are acidic, they are alkalizing to the body as they are consumed. Lemon water is a very healthy way to keep the body hydrated. My latest gout attack has made me appreciate good water. I always plan on having lemon water around and if I feel like I may have put myself at risk with too many rich, acidic foods or alcohol, I will compensate for it with some baking soda water. The key is to avoid extremism, which is point number, four for gout prevention.


Extremism is the real villain behind a gout attack. A lot of alcohol, certain rich foods, lots of coffee and lack of proper hydration over an extended period of time is definitely going to put ourselves at risk for a gout attack or even a kidney stone. Is it any coincidence that gout attacks are most common after the holidays? We’re eating lots of rich, acidic foods and desserts; drinking plenty of wine, beer and other types of alcohol and doing it on a consistent basis between late November and January 1st. On top of this extreme behavior, we’re probably not doing anything extra to compensate for our body’s lack of proper hydration. By using simple, common sense and keeping an eye on what we’re eating, drinking and doing, we can put ourselves in a position of heightened awareness and take the above steps necessary for staying gout-free. When the first symptom of gout is pain in the toe, we know that some damage has already been done to our body. When it gets to this point then what do we do to for full-scale prevention?


The most important thing we can do is recognize that the pain or aches we feel in our toe or foot are probably not a sprain or strained joint, but the beginning stages of a gout attack. I can remember how my left, big toe was feeling tender for several weeks prior to this most recent, long-lasting gout attack. I ignored it for several weeks thinking it was either going to go away on its own or that if it wasn’t bad then, it wouldn’t get any worse. It’s no wonder my gout lasted so long – it took several weeks to get to the point where it became a painful enough emergency for me to do something about it. Lesson learned and I will never let this happen again. My new plan of attack is to begin progressiveness anti-inflammatory treatment immediately. At the very onset of even the slightest pain in the toe, I will begin taking 1 Aleve at a time, every 8-12 hours until the pain is completely unnoticeable. If 1 Aleve at a time does not completely erase even the slightest hint of pain, I will increase the dosage to 2 each day. If that doesn’t get rid of the pain, I will go for the recommended prescription therapy which is Indocin (Indomethacin). The key is to never let the gout get to the point where the pain and swelling are unmanageable. While taking drugs like Aleve or Indocin, I recommend taking a good antacid like Prilosec with each dosage to prevent the stomach problems caused by these pain killers. I am confident that had I nipped my slight, toe-pain in the bud months ago, I would have never had the occasion to write this article. I’m thankful for what I learned and hopefully this information will be helpful not only to me, but to others. To make it simple and easy to remember, here is my formula:

Gout Prevention Formula

[Regular Food] + [Good Water] – [Extremism] + [Pain Killers at First Sign of Toe-Pain]

Blood Donations for Gout

Since writing this, I’ve recently read some very convincing information about regular blood donating, brine baths and certain supplements which can virtually eliminate the risk for gout. Apparently, the iron in our blood which is measured by our ferritin levels should ideally be below 55. A standard blood test will not give you a ferritin reading – you will have to ask your doctor for that. Good luck with that – my doctor completely ignored me when I requested that. If you’ve already had a gout attack, chances are good that your ferritin levels are well above 150. You can reduce your ferritin by 20 points with each blood donation and blood can be donated every 2 months. SO, in a one year period, you can reduce your ferritin by a total of 240 points. According to the information I’ve read, however, having ferritin below 35 is not good either, so maybe a specific blood test for ferritin is a good idea. In addition to the regular blood donations, take 2mg of copper daily, 200mg of Magnesium and 800mg of Vitamin D. Read more about it here: Gout Prevention Through Regular Blood Donations

Brine Baths for Treating Gout

gout brine bath saltThis same excellent website, Gout Online, also has another great tip: Brine Baths. Simply fill up your bath tub with hot water (as hot as you can stand) and about 6lbs of regular, table salt. You can buy table salt very cheaply in 50lb bags in a hardware or department store in the swimming pool department for under $6.00. This works best if you have a really deep bathtub – deep enough so you can be immersed up to your neck. The hot salt water actually extracts the uric acid and other toxins from your body while at the same time, providing relief for the kidneys. I’ve tried this and it is actually quite easy to do. The salt water doesn’t irritate the skin. The brine baths are obviously a great thing to do while you’re suffering a gout attack, but also recommended on a once-per-week basis for preventing gout attacks in the first place. Buy a 50lb back and make it a regular once a month or once a week habit. While my first part of the article deals mostly with short term tips to help avoid gout. These last two tips are long term ways to get gout out of your life entirely.

Cherries for Gout Help

cherries for goutIt is a scientific fact that cherry consumption (especially the tart ones) acts as a natural anti-inflammatory. Gout sufferers have reported great results in reducing their pain and swelling by consuming cherries. There’s only one problem – you need to eat lots of them regularly. Some recommendations are 40 or more per day. It’s hard to eat that many fresh cherries and extremely expensive buying enough cherry juice to drink every day. There is another way: Dehydrated Cherries.You can buy these in the 20oz bag online or at your local grocery or Costco store for about $14.00 or so. I’m not exactly sure how many cherries come in a 20oz bag, but it is quite easy to get 40 of them in one big handful. Since the cherries are dried, they are small and take up very little space. Even bags of cherries however, are expensive to eat regularly. IF you’re a gout sufferer, buy large bulk quantities of dried cherries and keep them on hand at all times. They are delicious. You can save big on cherries for gout by buying them in the 4lb box below.

Update: August 8, 2012

This last weekend I suffered my 4th Gout attack in about 8 years. They do seem to occur more often as you get older. I’m 51 and believe this stuff started about 8 years ago. I’ve given only two blood donations and according to the theory that blood donations help, it may take quite a few more than that before I begin to benefit from them. The ferritin levels in our blood should be between 35 and 55 according to one expert who swears by this theory: Scroll above to the title, Blood Donations for Gout for a link. Now back to my gout. This most recent attack started out as a very minor swelling on the tip of my 2nd, right toe on Saturday Night. I now know better than to consider the beginning of any gout attack as innocent or minor. They often seem that way at first and grow into a huge, traumatic ordeal if left alone too long.

Observations from Most Recent Gout Attack – Day -6

1. 3 x 200mg Ibuprofen every 4-6 hours seems to work much better than taking 2 or 3 aleve every 8-12 hours.

2. After the swelling from the tip of the toe was gone, I stopped taking the ibuprofen and two days later it’s back throughout the middle and bottom of the toe – and worse.

3. I’ve tried baking soda and brine baths – so far, can’t tell if they are doing any good.

4. Have been taking 1000MG of Cherry Extract and 1500MG of Celery Seen extract for 4th straight day. No noticeable benefits.

Day Six of Gout Attack

Gout in toe after 6 daysThe pattern seems to be that the gout attacks in one small spot of the toe than moves towards the foot. I felt measurably better yesterday. Then suffered with aching, needle-like pains in my toe all night long and woke up with the swelling bigger than every, but in the larger part of the toe. This was after following the brine bath remedies. About the only thing that I can really, for sure, bring relief is the Ibuprofen (3 at a time). I stop taking those I hurt and the swelling comes back. The cherries, celery seed, baking soda and water, brine baths, and prior 2 blood donations have not seemed to help. But who knows if there is some long-term, accumulative benefit to all of these prevention techniques? More later.

Is it Gout or a Fractured Toe?

The pain and swelling I had in my toe above, turned out to be a fractured toe. I guess I was so fearful and dreading another gout attack so much that I jumped to conclusions. This explains why the hot bath actually made it feel worse.  When the swelling got even worse than what is pictured above, I decided to have the doctor take a look at it. Also, I requested to have the fluid sampled. The doctor immediately suspected it was a broken toe. She told me there wasn’t enough fluid to even check it. The difference between gout and a broken toe is the swelling and sensitivity to touch. My toe did not hurt to touch it. Merely, lightly touching a gout victim’s toe is enough to send them through the ceiling. It is shockingly painful to have gout. A broken toe is a nuisance, but not unbearable. I kept ice on it and it subsided after about 2 weeks.  My blood tests showed that my uric acid was in the normal range, but a little on the high side. Not enough to consider any of those dangerous drugs for uric acid reduction. My advice for preventing gout for sufferers is the blood donations and regular brine baths. Keep your circulation moving by wiggling your toes and keeping them warm – and by all means, do NOT slam your toe into a door when walking barefoot around the house.

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