Tag Archives: Gout

Arthritis is a Pain!

ArthritisPainJacquie Eubanks RN BSNLiterally meaning joint inflammation, arthritis is a general term used for more than 100 different rheumatic diseases and conditions that relate to joint pain or joint disease. Now considered a common ailment, especially among women and those advancing in years, doctor-diagnosed arthritis affects approximately 54.4 million American adults, a number expected to rise to 78 million by 2040. Symptoms of pain, stiffness and swelling in and around the joints and surrounding tissues, as well as loss of mobility and reduced joint flexibility, may develop gradually or suddenly, may be mild, moderate or severe, and may come and go with periods of time between flare-ups.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is an often painful, degenerative joint disease that can affect the hips, knees, neck, lower back and smaller knuckle joints. OA generally begins with the gradual deterioration of cartilage, the strong and flexible fibrous connective tissue that cushions the joints, absorbs shock, and allows for bones to glide over each other with movement. Over time, cartilage breakdown leads to joint damage and loss of the synovial fluid that lubricates the joint, resulting in bone-on-bone friction, pain, and inflammation. Initial signs of OA might include morning joint stiffness that lessens with movement, or joint pain after exercise or strenuous activity. Osteoarthritis may develop with aging, sports participation, repetitive overuse or joint stress resulting from injury or obesity.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory autoimmune disorder in which the body releases enzymes that attack joint linings, causing swelling, pain, stiffness, and malformation, as well as reduced movement and loss of functionality. This abnormal immune response plays a leading role in the inflammation and joint damage that occurs. RA often affects the fingers, thumbs, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, ankles and feet. Because RA causes high levels of systemic inflammation, it can affect organ and body systems, resulting in symptoms of dry eye, eye sensitivity and irritation, dry mouth, gum irritation or infection, inflammation of the blood vessels and lungs, anemia and skin nodules. As there is no cure, RA must be managed to target remission, control pain and fatigue, and prevent damage to joints and tissues. Typically, a combination of medication, exercise, lifestyle changes, and an anti-inflammatory diet high in omega-3 essential fatty acids, are recommended protocols for treatment.

Gout is another form of inflammatory arthritis that causes extremely painful joint inflammation, largely affecting the big toe. Gout occurs when the body produces an excess of uric acid or is unable to eliminate it quickly enough. Initially symptomless, when the blood level of uric acid is high, sharp needle-like crystals can begin to form in the joint. A gout attack generally occurs suddenly without warning, causing an episode of severe pain, tenderness, warmth and swelling that may last for up to a week or longer. Certain health conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease may contribute to a higher risk of gout. Although some will experience chronic gout flares, lifestyle and dietary changes can help with reducing interval flare-ups. Avoiding red and organ meats, shellfish, excessive alcohol, and fructose sweetened drinks can help reduce gout risk. Following a life-long heart healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and engaging in physical activity are important strategies for uric acid reduction and gout management.

Exercise that emphasizes stretching, strengthening and range of motion, such as tai chi, swimming, low-impact aerobics, and restorative yoga, is often helpful and encouraged to support dexterity and protect against further degeneration, while periodic rests from repetitive movement help to reduce inflammation and fatigue. Topical analgesics or patches applied directly to the affected areas, such as those than contain eucalyptus or capsaicin, help to reduce pain by stimulating the nerve endings that distract the brain from joint pain. Heat treatments, such as warm compresses, heating pads and 15-20-minute bath soaks can soothe affected joints, improve pain tolerance and help to maintain flexibility. For acute flares, cold treatment is best as it helps to reduce inflammation and numb pain. Acupuncture or acupressure, relaxation techniques, massage and chiropractic manipulation can also help to relieve stress, pain, inflammation, and other symptoms associated with different forms of arthritis. The following science-backed supplements may be effective in the management of arthritis:

Hyaluronic Acid – Hyaluronic acid is found in all connective tissues and is a major component of cartilage and synovial fluid that surrounds the joints. It’s hyaluronic acid that retains the moisture that lubricates and protects cartilage. Research has shown that hyaluronic acid helps to relieve achy joints.

MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) – This organic sulfur compound, found naturally in fruits, vegetables, and grains, is an important building block for healthy bones and joints. Evidence shows that MSM may have a moderate effect in improving joint pain and swelling and may improve general functional wellbeing in those with OA.

Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids – EPA and DHA essential fatty acids found in cold water fish block powerful inflammatory cytokines and provide anti-inflammatory compounds that protect against inflammatory conditions, including arthritis, heart disease, and high blood pressure.  According to the Arthritis Foundation, extensively studied omega-3’s significantly decrease joint tenderness and stiffness.

Bromelain – Found naturally in pineapple, bromelain has been shown to cause uric acid crystals to decompose, helping to relieve pain associated with gout. Taken regularly as a supplement, bromelain can help reduce swelling, pain and tenderness and may also help prevent future attacks.

Spices – Turmeric and ginger contain natural anti-inflammatory and pain relieving compounds. Applied topically, capsaicin provides pain relief and helps to temporarily reduce bodily chemicals that contribute to inflammation.

As always, if you pregnant, taking medications or have a medical condition, please consult your healthcare provider before beginning a supplement regimen.

Professional Supplement Center carries many high quality supplements to support a healthy inflammatory response and overall health.

Bromelain-5000 (7500...Bromelain-5000 by Douglas Laboratories: Obtained from pineapple, bromelain is a blend of enzymes shown to support a healthy inflammatory response, aid digestion, and promote muscle and joint comfort. Gluten, soy, wheat, and dairy free.


Uric Acid FormulaUric Acid Formula by Pure Encapsulations®: This formula provides vitamins and botanicals to support healthy uric acid metabolism by promoting healthy liver enzyme activity, immune mediator activity and alkalization. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.


Advanced Bio...ON SALE Advanced Bio-Curcumin® with Ginger Tumerones by Life Extension: Formulated with BCM-95® Bio-Curcumin®, standardized ginger extracts, turmeric oil compounds and phospholipids, this highly absorbable formula promotes a healthy inflammatory response by inhibiting key inflammatory factors.


Hyaluronic AcidON SALE Hyaluronic Acid by Olympian Labs: This product provides a blend of hyaluronic acid and BioCell collagen in support of properly hydrated joints and skin. Soy free formulation.


MSM Capsules ...MSM by Pure Encapsulations: Well known for maintaining connective tissue heath, MSM is a source of organic sulfur, which supports healthy joint function as well as hair, skin and nails. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.


Hyaluronic Acid with...ON SALE Hyaluronic Acid with MSM by Now Foods: This product provides hyaluronic acid as well as MSM in support of connective tissue and joint lubrication and shock absorption. Gluten, soy, wheat, yeast, and milk free.


ProOmega Lemon 1000...ON SALE ProOmega Lemon 1000 mg by Nordic Naturals: This popular product provides high potency omega-3 fatty acids derived from purified deep sea fish oil. Shown to clinically support cardiovascular health and the body’s natural anti-inflammatory response, this double strength formula is guaranteed to be fresh and pure. Gluten free, Non-GMO formulation.

What Is Arthritis? http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/understanding-arthritis/what-is-arthritis.php
Arthritis Basics. https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/index.html
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). https://www.rheumatoidarthritis.org/ra/
Arthritis. http://www.health.harvard.edu/topics/arthritis
What is Cartilage? http://www.arthritis-health.com/types/joint-anatomy/what-cartilage
Osteoarthritis Symptoms and Signs. http://www.arthritis-health.com/types/osteoarthritis/osteoarthritis-symptoms-and-signs
Gout Self Care. http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/gout/self-care.php
Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment. http://www.arthritis-health.com/types/rheumatoid/rheumatoid-arthritis-treatment

Ice vs. Heat

IceHeatJacquie Eubanks RN BSN



Perhaps it’s time to clear up confusion about whether to apply ice, heat or both intermittently to relieve aches, pains and injuries. These minimal risk, self-treatment therapies are noninvasive, inexpensive, effective and readily available. But, sometimes we’re just not really sure about the how, when or why of icing or warming. Whether to use cold or heat therapies often depends on whether the pain is acute, chronic persistent or recurrent. In general, ice the affected area when there is acute pain, injury, swelling or inflammation. For muscle pain, chronic pain and older injuries, apply heat. With certain types of pain, such as arthritic pain, either heat or cold may help. Some studies have shown that heat provides more relief to someone suffering with back or neck pain, as muscles respond well to heat while ice can aggravate muscle spasms.

When to use ice or cryotherapy:

For recent injuries less than 48 hours old, ice packs can help minimize swelling, reduce internal bleeding and reduce tissue trauma. Cold narrows the blood vessels and reduces blood flow to the area, which reduces swelling and inflammation and provides a numbing effect for pain relief. Icing is good for chronic overuse, repetitive strain or tissue fatigue injuries such as tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, or shin splints. Cold therapy is great for bruises, sprains, strains and swollen, sensitive and inflamed areas. Ice or cold packs may also be used after activity for overuse injuries to help control inflammation.

When to use heat or thermotherapy:

Heat works well for non-inflammatory body pain and is useful for chronic conditions to relieve muscle pain and stiff, painful arthritic joints. Applying heat encourages circulation to the affected area, increasing blood flow and decreasing lactic acid buildup, which can contribute to pain. Heat helps to relax or loosen muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments, alleviating both pain and stiffness. Heat treatment for recurrent pain helps open blood vessels, which transport oxygen and nutrients that promote healing. Warmth can help to increase range of motion and improve flexibility. Warm, not hot, heating pads, microwaveable gel packs or bath soaks all provide good sources of relief for muscle spasms or pain.

Acute injury – For sudden, traumatic injuries, ice the affected area as soon as possible for 10 minutes at a time, allowing skin temperature to return to normal between icings. Icing can be repeated several times daily for 2-3 days.

Chronic sports injuries – To prevent further injury, apply moist heat to loosen injured muscles and joints before activity or stretching. To minimize pain and reduce inflammation, ice affected areas immediately after exercising.

Arthritis – Icing newly inflamed joints helps to control pain and minimize inflammation. Moist heat can ease joint stiffness or relax tight muscles around the joints. Some prefer to use heat in the morning to relieve stiffness and then ice in the evening to reduce inflammation related to the day’s activities.

Gout – Use ice as soon as possible to calm acute gout flare-ups, reduce swelling and numb pain if the pressure is not unbearable. Elevate the affected area and take medication as recommended by your healthcare provider.

Tendonitis – For acute irritation, use ice to relieve inflammation, reduce initial swelling and numb pain. After 48 hours or for chronic irritation, use heat after inflammation resolves to relieve stiffness.

Headaches – Cold packs can help relieve a migraine headache. Heat applied to tight muscles in the neck or jaw may help relieve tension headaches. Some prefer to alternate ice and heat in 5 minute increments beginning with cold to ease headache pain.

Back pain – Lower back pain is often the result of strains or over-exertions, which creates tension in the muscles and soft tissues. To relieve pain from muscle spasms and tightness, apply dry or moist heat.

Sometimes it comes down to personal preference or trial and error as to which of these simple pain management methods provides you with the most relief. When in doubt, check with your healthcare provider. It’s important to note that both therapies may carry small risks when used improperly or excessively. Keep safety in mind, as both heat and ice can burn the skin when not carefully administered. Some cautionary notes:

  • Heat should not be applied when swelling is present, after an acute injury or if skin is red or hot to the touch
  • Protect your skin against direct contact with heating devices
  • Be sure to stay well hydrated during heat therapy
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to systemic heat therapy
  • Don’t use heat therapy while sleeping
  • Those with poor circulation or diabetes should avoid applying heat
  • Don’t ice for more than 20 minutes at one time and keep the ice pack moving to avoid ice burn or tissue damage
  • Give your body tissues time to warm up between repeated icing sessions
  • Protect your affected areas from direct contact with ice packs
  • Ice should not be applied to chronic injuries before activity
  • If skin turns bright red, remove the heat or ice pack
  • Don’t use ice or heat therapy in the presence of infection or on areas of the body with poor circulation or on areas of skin with poor sensation to heat or cold

Available at Professional Supplement Center:

Sports Pack with StrapSports Pack by Thera°Pearl – This convenient, doctor-designed sports pack conforms to your body and provides therapeutic heat or cold treatments. Pop in freezer for analgesic cold or warm in microwave for penetrating heat. This durable, non-toxic, hypoallergenic, reusable pack holds its temperature for a full 20 minutes to provide fast, soothing relief for sore muscles, pre- or post-workout therapy, menstrual cramps, joint pain and stiffness and accidental injuries. Available with or without strap. Dimensions: 7.5” by 4.5”.

Heat for Pain. https://www.painscience.com/articles/heating.php
Heat or Cold for Chronic Muscle Pain? http://www.everydayhealth.com/pain-management/using-cold-and-heat.aspx
Ice vs. Heat Confusion Debacle. https://www.painscience.com/articles/ice-heat-confusion.php
Ice Vs. Heat. What’s Better For Your Pain? http://www.medicaldaily.com/ice-heat-pain-treatment-arthritis-373156
Icing for Injuries, Tendonitis and Inflammation. https://www.painscience.com/articles/icing.php
When to Use Hot and Cold Therapy. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=4483
Should You Ice or Heat an Injury? http://www.scoi.com/patient-resources/health-articles/should-you-ice-or-heat-injury

Got Gout?

Got_GoutJacquie Eubanks RN BSN



As we age, the potential for a flare up of gout, a painful and potentially disabling condition, increases for both men and women. Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis caused by an abnormal metabolism of uric acid, that results in a buildup of uric acid in the blood and tissues. Uric acid is a waste product that is formed when the body breaks down purines, byproducts of protein and fructose metabolism. Purines are also found in dietary foods and drinks, such as organ meats, some seafoods, certain vegetables, legumes, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and alcoholic beverages, particularly beer. Most of the time, uric acid dissolves in the blood and is filtered through the kidneys and excreted in urine. When the body makes too much uric acid, or we eat too many foods high in purines, or the kidneys fail to remove enough uric acid, needle-like uric acid crystals can form in the body, often settling in and around the joints, resulting in intense pain, stiffness and inflammation, or in the kidneys, where they can develop into stones.

Gout attacks are generally acute, appearing without warning and lasting from a few hours to several weeks. A majority of the time symptoms subside within 5-10 days, after which people may remain pain free for a period of time. Some people may experience another attack within a few months, while others may go several years between episodes. Flare-ups most often occur in the big toe, but the condition can affect any joint including knees, elbows, wrists and fingers. While a high blood level of uric acid is considered the first stage of gout, not everyone with high levels will develop gout symptoms. The development of gout is strongly linked to genetics and lifestyle factors, including diet and excess alcohol consumption, and with symptoms of metabolic syndrome, including obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol and triglycerides. Stressful events, dehydration, injury, chemotherapy, diuretics and other medications may also trigger this painful condition.

As there is no known cure for gout, medications, such as corticosteroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), are often prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation. Other medications, such as those designed to block uric acid production or those that help the kidneys remove uric acid, may also be prescribed. Left untreated, gout can develop into a painful and disabling chronic disorder that can destroy bone and cartilage and result in loss of mobility. While many people may prefer to manage their condition without side effect inducing medications, a combination of medications and lifestyle changes may be necessary to prevent future attacks. Keeping uric acid levels low is extremely important for a lifelong management of gout flare-ups.

While gout is a lifelong disease, lifestyle choices can make a difference in keeping future attacks at bay. Avoid triggers, monitor uric acid levels, maintain a healthy weight and follow a well balanced anti-inflammatory, high antioxidant, low-fructose diet. When flare-ups occur, elevate the painful joint as often as possible and, if tolerable, apply ice packs or cold compresses several times per day to help relieve pain and reduce swelling and inflammation. Lifestyle recommendations that focus on the underlying cause of gout and other painful inflammatory conditions include:

  • Be aware that treatment starts with your diet. A heart healthy, anti-inflammatory eating strategy includes foods low in uric acid, such as low-fat dairy, whole grains and vegetables. Enjoy small amounts of fruits and limited amounts of red and organ meats and shellfish. Totally avoid or severely limit processed foods and, most importantly, sugary drinks and HFCS.
  • Reach and maintain a proper weight. Gradual weight loss helps to reduce blood levels of uric acid and can lessen the risks of heart disease and stroke, commonly seen in those who have gout. Rapid weight loss can actually trigger a gout attack.
  • Hydration is key to minimizing the frequency and intensity of flare-up. Water is a necessary agent for detoxification and helps the blood, liver and kidneys to eliminate toxins and waste products, including uric acid.
  • Derived from hot peppers, cayenne or capsaicin cream applied to the inflamed area helps to alleviate pain. At first use, capsaicin may stimulate pain. However, with continued use, capsaicin decreases the intensity of pain signals in the body.
  • Fresh tart cherries, tart cherry juice and tart cherry supplements and extracts have been shown to support healthy uric acid levels. Tart cherries contain high levels of bioflavonoids and anthocyanins, which inhibit the same inflammation contributing enzymes targeted by anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Limit alcohol consumption as much as possible. Alcohol promotes dehydration and can raise blood levels of uric acid enough to initiate a flare-up. Studies show that men who drink alcohol daily have double the risk of developing gout as compared to non-drinkers.
  • Bromelain, found naturally in pineapple, has been shown to cause uric acid crystals to decompose, helping to relieve pain associated with gout. Taken regularly as a supplement, bromelain can help reduce swelling, pain and tenderness and may also help prevent future attacks.
  • Chronic stress can increase uric acid levels and contribute to a gout attack. Stress management helps to keep cortisol levels down and chronic inflammation at bay.
  • Along with obesity, sleep apnea has been linked to an increased risk of developing gout. Studies suggest that sleep apnea triggers an overproduction of uric acid, creating a more ideal environment for a flare-up. Treating sleep apnea and losing weight may help to reduce gout risks.


Products that may help relieve gout symptoms include:

Uric Acid FormulaUric Acid Formula by Pure Encapsulations – This vitamin and herbal extract formula is designed to support healthy uric acid metabolism. The formula includes antioxidant vitamin C, plus black cherry and bromelain for support of healthy liver enzyme activity, immune activity and alkalization. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.


Uric-gen by Genestra – This liquid herbal remedy is specifically formulated to aid the elimination of uric acids from the body and to aid in the management of crystallized toxins associated with gout and rheumatism. Soy and dairy free, vegan formulation.


M.F. Bromelain® (SB315)

M.F. Bromelain® by Thorne Research – This formula contains a mixture of potent proteolytic enzymes derived from pineapple. Each serving provides 1 g of bromelain. Gluten, soy and dairy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.


Tart Cherry Ultra

Tart Cherry Ultra by Enzymatic Therapy – One serving contains 1.2 g of tart cherry concentrate, which provides anthocyanins, beneficial antioxidants that support healthy uric acid levels. Gluten, soy and dairy free vegetarian formula.


What Is Uric Acid? http://www.livescience.com/45148-what-is-uric-acid.html
Gout Causes. http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/gout/causes.php
Gout. http://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Gout
What Is Gout? http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Gout/gout_ff.asp
Gout. http://www.emedicinehealth.com/gout/article_em.htm
10 Foods That Cause Gout Flare-Ups. http://www.symptomfind.com/nutrition-supplements/foods-that-cause-gout-flare-ups/
Gout. https://umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/gout
Alcohol Increases the Risk of Gout. http://www.health.harvard.edu/family_health_guide/alcohol-increases-the-risk-of-gout