Gout in my Shoulder

Update: I got blood work done and my uric acid levels are well within normal limits, so I do not have gout, and the shoulder pain was most likely muscle spasms. Since then I’ve eaten oysters, clams, mussels, crabs, anchovies, sardines, mackerel, and other seafoods in mass quantities, without any pain or inflammation. Please ignore the rest of this entry.


For your reference: Gout.

Monday, 9pm: Russell, visiting from California, takes me and my coworkers out to dinner at Mimi’s and Johnny’s Half Shell. I consume a bottle of Yuengling, a few bites of calamari, six raw clams, a bowl of extra-spicy filé gumbo with mussels, and a glass of white wine.

Monday, 11pm: I go to sleep, lying on my left side under the sheets. Uric acid, introduced by an increased intake of purine-rich alcohol and shellfish, begins to form crystals in my bloodstream.

Tuesday, 2am: Uric acid crystals accumulate where my sleeping position has caused blood concentration to pool: my left shoulder.

Tuesday, 5am: I am awakened by a dull, steady ache in my left shoulder and arm. My first thought is that a heart attack can often manifest as pain in the left arm, but then I remember an old softball injury in my shoulder from grade school. I dismiss it as the old pulled muscle acting up again and attempt go back to sleep.

Tuesday, 6am: The pain is now so intense that I am groaning in bed and cannot sleep. Painkillers do not help.

Tuesday, 9am: Painkillers begin to kick in, but I call in sick. I still do not realize that I have gout, though a long draught of water helps the pain somewhat.

Tuesday, noon: Late for work, I suddenly remember that my father has a history of gout, and has warned me that it can be passed down to other males in the family. I have indeed gotten similar episodes of foot and joint pain after eating large quantities of codfish and steak in the past.

I conclude that I have had a gout attack in which the pain hit my shoulder rather than my big toe (a more common spot for gout attacks), and am kept in a state of reasonable comfort by acetaminophen through the rest of the day. Note to self: cut down shellfish intake.



  1. bobber says:

    Here’s a natural remedy.

  2. Russell says:

    Oh, blame the co-worker from the west for your hangover, oops, i mean “Gout”.


  3. Bam says:

    Well, I for one am glad you chose to cut down on shellfish but decided to stick with the alcohol. Good call.


  4. Mark (UK) says:

    As someone who’s experienced several gout attacks in my knee and ankle joints over a couple of years since the age of 32 I can fully sympathise with you.

    I’m on a low daily dose of Allopurinol now and drink lots of water, and that seems to have done the trick for me.

    At least you recognise what might have brought it on and can adjust your diet accordingly. Make sure you keep the water intake up as well.

    Best wishes, and I hope you recover soon!

  5. Anon says:

    Those good heavy beers will do it every time. One six-pack, even spread over several days, and one or the other of my knees is bound to lock up tight.

    Be sure to tell your doctor about this; gout in younger people can sometimes indicate kidney or liver problems.