How Is Arthritis In The Hand Treated
Treatment options depend on the type of arthritis, stage of arthritis, how many joints are affected, your age, activity level, the hand affected and other existing medical conditions.
Goals of treatment are to:
- Improve mobility and function.
- Increase your quality of life.
- In the case of rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis, to slow the progression of the disease.
Treatment options include splinting/bracing, medications, injections, non-drug approaches and surgery.
Splits or braces support and protect the affected joint, reduce deformity, provide joint stability, lessen strain, and promote proper joint alignment. Your healthcare provider, occupational therapist or hand therapist will discuss splinting/bracing options, how and when to wear them and how long to wear them .
Steroids reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Steroids are usually used if medications dont control inflammation or if the inflammation is limited to a few joints. Injections are administered directly into the affected joint. Because steroids can weaken tendons and ligaments, injections are repeated only a few times.
Other management strategies
A complete treatment plan for arthritis of the hand includes these additional approaches:
If nonsurgical treatments no longer provide relief and the cartilage at the ends of your bones has worn away, surgery may be an option. There are several approaches:
How To Treat Arthritis Of The Spine
Arthritis is one of the most common medical conditions that affects individuals over the age of 50, and while youve probably heard about the condition affecting the knee or hip, those arent the only joints prone to the arthritis. Your facet joints in your spine can also develop arthritis, and considering how often you use your spine, it can be quite the irritating condition. In todays blog, we take a closer look at why spinal arthritis develops and how the condition can be treated by a spine specialist.
Heat And Cold Therapy
You may have heard that thermotherapy, the use of heat in therapy, is an effective way of treating pain in the neck due to arthritis. This method has merit. How does it work? By increasing circulation through the joints, bones, and muscles within your neck. Without ample blood flow, areas in your neck will be deprived of oxygen, and this leads to dead or dying muscle tissue, weakening your neck and forcing you to rely on your bones for keeping your head up. Ultimately, this leads to more pain.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, you can also use cold therapy to constrict the blood vessels in your neck and decrease inflammation. Doctors recommend using hot and cold therapy in intervals of 30 minutes each.
Also Check: What Kind Of Doctor For Arthritis
Living With Psoriatic Arthritis
Living with psoriatic arthritis is all about maintaining the right treatment plan. With the right treatment plan in place, you can live a life free of pain and inflammation. Most doctors prescribe a combination of therapies to patients with psoriatic arthritis. This can include drug therapies, home remedies, and lifestyle changes to increase mobility, treat psoriasis symptoms, and minimize joint pain.
Even though psoriatic arthritis is a lifelong, chronic, autoimmune disorder, this does not have to impact your quality of life. Get diagnosed early, have your doctor develop a treatment plan, and stick to it. These are the keys to living a healthy life with psoriatic arthritis.
Symptoms Of Shoulder Osteoarthritis
This may be the type of arthritis that first comes to mind when you hear that term. There are two main types of shoulder osteoarthritis: glenohumeral . Arthritis and acromioclavicular arthritis. Osteoarthritis causes joint pain from wear and tear over many years. It alters your entire joint and isnt currently reversible. Usually, OA occurs when the cartilage in the joint breaks down over many years. Cartilage provides padding between bones in your joints. Without enough cartilage, it can become very painful to move your joint.
For both types, your symptoms will typically include a combination of the following symptoms
- Pain Comes and Goes The pain may come and go but it will build up gradually. It can get worse over months and years.
- Pain Caused By Inactivity If you notice more pain in the morning with your first movements of the day but feel better the more you move around.
- Loss of Motion Not being able to raise your arm over your head to put on your shirt.
- Pain From Activities Glenohumeral arthritis will cause pain when you lift a bag of groceries and acromioclavicular arthritis will cause pain as you reach across your body to buckle your seat belt.
Aging, overuse of the joint, injury, and being overweight can influence your likelihood of developing OA. However, while there is no cure for shoulder osteoarthritis, there are many treatments to help slow down its progression and reduce pain.
You May Like: What Type Of Doctor Handles Arthritis
Signs Of Arthritis In Cats
Cats tend to hide signs of pain quite effectively, which makes sense if you consider their ancestry. A sick animal in the wild is vulnerable to predators, so any sign of weakness must be hidden. This instinct makes it difficult for owners to know their cats is affected and whether treatment is necessary.
Observe your cat for any change in behavior or activity. If an older cat is more hesitant to climb stairs or jump onto a bed or table, it may be suffering from feline arthritis.
A cat with arthritis also may stop using the litter box, as climbing in and out causes pain. If you notice your cat reduces or limits its grooming this may also be a sign of arthritic joints movements that were once routine are more difficult and painful.
Watch for changes in your cat’s gait. If it looks like it’s doing a “bunny hop” or otherwise moving differently than usual, chances are it’s trying to find a comfortable way to move around without causing more stress on the arthritic body part.
If you are in doubt about whether your cat is in pain, it’s best to speak with your veterinarian, who will assess the cat and provide suggestions on how to help manage the pain.
Physical And Alternative Therapy To Treat Arthritis In Dogs
In addition to diet, supplements, and medications, there are also therapy treatment options available to help manage a dogs arthritis pain. Physical therapy, like appropriate forms of regular exercise, as mentioned earlier can be extremely beneficial for dogs with arthritis. Many owners also find hydrotherapy, or water therapy, helpful.
Holistic therapies, like acupuncture, can be useful as well. Acupressure and targeted pulsed electromagnetic field therapy are other alternative options that may be useful for the treatment of arthritis in dogs.
Also Check: How Do You Spell Psoriatic Arthritis
Medications To Treat Arthritis In Dogs
Your veterinarian may decide to perform a blood test to determine if your dog is eligible for prescription medication, like non-steroidal anti-inflammatories , to help manage arthritis pain. If your dog is suitable, your veterinarian will work with you on the specifics of dosage and administering the medication. Remember that human NSAIDs, like Ibuprofen or Naproxen, are toxic medications to dogs and should never be given to them for pain relief.
Eat A Nutritious Diet
It goes without saying that the better you eat, the closer to a healthy weight youll likely be. But for those dealing with arthritis pain, its not just about your weightits also about what types of food you put in your body. A donut or a piece of pizza might be more tempting than a salad or a bowl of veggies, but its important to keep an eye on what we put in our bodies. Processed sugar and saturated fats can raise levels of inflammation in your body.4 On the flipside, the nutrients in some foods have anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce arthritis pain.5 Foods that reflect the principles of a Mediterranean diet might help ease your arthritis symptoms.6 These foods, such as fish, olive oil, fruit, nuts, and leafy greens, fill your body with nutrients to fight inflammation.7 Make sure you work with your doctor to make dietary changes that are right for you based on your health history.
Don’t Miss: Is Tylenol Arthritis Good For Inflammation
What Type Of Hand Surgery Is Most Commonly Performed On The Specific Joints Affected By Arthritis
- Base of the thumb: Where your thumb and wrist join. Common surgical options include removing part or all of one of the trapezium bone , tendon transfer or joint fusion.
- Knuckles : Joint replacement is almost always considered for this repair. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause serious damage and disability to your knuckles.
- Second joint of your finger : Osteoarthritis commonly causes stiffness and loss of motion. Joint replacement or fusion are considered for these joints. Because you use these joints frequently, there is a chance your implant could wear out. In this case, your provider may recommend further surgery.
- Top of finger joint : Joint fusion is commonly used to treat arthritis in this joint.
How Is Spinal Arthritis Treated
The treatment for spinal arthritis depends on many factors. They may include your age, level of pain, type and severity of arthritis and personal health goals. Because the joint damage caused by arthritis is irreversible, the treatment usually focuses on managing pain and preventing further damage.
Nonsurgical treatments for spinal arthritis may include:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids to reduce pain and swelling
Other medications targeting specific symptoms or triggers of inflammatory arthritis
Physical therapy to improve back muscle strength and range of motion in the spine
Lifestyle changes to reduce inflammation or stress on your spine: losing weight, quitting smoking, changing your posture, etc.
Read Also: What To Eat To Avoid Rheumatoid Arthritis
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Hand Surgery
Recovery time depends on many factors, including the severity of your condition, type of surgery you had, the skill of your surgeon and your compliance with therapy. Most people can return to their activities about three months after joint reconstruction surgery. Your team of caregivers can give you the best estimate of your particular recovery time.
Treating Arthritis With Medications
Meds are usually very effective in helping to ease joint pain and other arthritis symptoms. Thats because most of them help reduce inflammation the source of all that aching. Some types of medications may be used simply to ease joint pain, without doing much to combat inflammation.
Over-the-counter pain-relievers. These include Tylenol , and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Aspirin, Aleve , and Advil or Motrin . Acetaminophen may be best used in conjunction with some prescription medications and is generally safe for long-term use, according to 2012 research in The Open Rheumatology Journal. But the researchers also noted that, while NSAIDs can ease an arthritis flare-up, high doses and long-term use may also be harmful the Food and Drug Administration cautions that NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding and kidney damage in some people.
Acetaminophen is the first line of defense against osteoarthritis, says Robert T. Keenan, MD, a rheumatologist at Duke University Hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina. He considers the medicine to be very safe if you dont have significant liver damage or other contraindications and don’t take more than the maximum dosage . It seems to work best before the pain starts and preventing the pain associated with increased activity, Dr. Keenan says.
Also Check: Can Psoriasis Lead To Psoriatic Arthritis
How Is Spinal Arthritis Diagnosed
Your doctor may use some or all of the following diagnostic methods to confirm spinal arthritis:
Medical history and physical exam
Blood tests for genetic markers and/or RA antibodies
X-rays of the spine to locate the arthritic joint
Joint aspiration: testing of the synovial fluid inside a joint
To pinpoint the painful joint, your doctor may numb it with an injection and check whether the pain goes away.
Degenerative Disk Disease: Janâs Story
At 78, Jan Greer wanted to stay active and athletic. Herniated disks, stenosis and other degenerative back problems were causing him unbearable pain. When the pain became too much to bear, he turned to Johns Hopkins.
Surgery For Spinal Arthritis
Surgery may be recommended for spinal arthritis if other treatments donât sufficiently relieve pain. The goals of the surgery may include:
Stabilizing the spine by fusing several segments together in a procedure called spinal fusion
These surgeries can be performed as open procedures or with a minimally invasive approach. There are pros and cons to each method. The surgeon will review and discuss the options before the operation.
Read Also: What To Take For Arthritis Pain
Complementary And Alternative Medicine
If you prefer a natural approach to treating arthritis, or would like to explore complementary options, it’s imperative that you tell your doctor what you want to try . There are many alternative treatment options that, while popular, are not fully endorsed for effectiveness and safety. Supplements and herbal products also pose the potential for dangerous drug interactions.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine, a division of the National Institutes of Health , reports on the effectiveness of some CAM treatments for arthritis:
Be wary of dietary supplements sold for arthritis relief. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that many are tainted with prescription drugs. You could experience dangerous side effects from these supplements.
Who Gets Arthritis In Their Hands
You are more likely to get arthritis in your hands if:
- Youre older. Osteoarthritis is commonly seen after age 50. Rheumatoid arthritis typically first appears between the age of 35 and 50.
- Youre a woman.
- Youre white.
- Youre overweight.
- Youve had previous injuries to your hand. If youve dislocated or broken any joints in your hands or fingers, you are more likely to develop arthritis.
- You’ve inherited genes that cause the development of arthritis.
Also Check: How Does Methotrexate Help Rheumatoid Arthritis
Find Your Healthy Weight
Being a healthy weight is important for everyone, but especially for those suffering from joint pain.1 Excess weight places increased stress on your whole body, especially your joints.2 But heres the good newslosing even just a few pounds can help you reduce pressure on your ankles, knees, and hips.3 For your best odds of long-term weight loss success, take off the pounds slowly using a healthy eating plan and regularly engaging in physical activity.
Ways Psoriatic Arthritis Can Affect Your Health
Common symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include joint pain, inflammation, dactylitis , fatigue, heel pain, tendonitis, and back pain. However, the disease can also have an impact on your health in a secondary way. That is, a number of conditions can pop up and negatively impact your health, as a result of psoriatic arthritis.
- Heart disease: The inflammation caused by psoriatic arthritis can also have a lasting impact on the coronary arteries. Controlling the inflammation caused by psoriatic arthritis can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
- Heart attack: Your risk of suffering from a heart attack is increased if you have psoriatic arthritis. Even after controlling for high blood pressure and diabetes, psoriatic arthritis patients still experience an elevated risk. Doctors attribute this to the presence of chronic inflammation.
- Fibromyalgia: Pain and fatigue are common symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. However, psoriatic arthritis patients also experience pain and generalized fatigue beyond the affected joints, leading to this secondary condition.
- Obesity: Being obese is a condition that affects psoriatic arthritis before its diagnosed and after it has been confirmed. Obesity is thought to be a potential trigger to the onset of the disease, as it plays a role in inflammation. After diagnosis, obesity can have a further impact on the disease, as it places additional stress on the joints, leading to more pain and damage.
Read Also: Does Psoriatic Arthritis Affect Your Eyes
Apply Heat And Cold Therapy
Ever notice how a warm shower loosens up your joints and muscles in the morning? If you have arthritis, your answer is probably yes. Did you know you can use both heat and ice to treat your arthritis? Heatsuch as from a shower, bath, electric blanket or heating padhelps relieve stiffness and gets blood flowing to the muscles so you feel able to move again. Ice reduces joint pain and swelling. If your arthritic knee hurts after youve been standing or walking all day, apply an ice pack to the painful or swollen area for no more than 20 minutes. Rest a bit, then move around again to keep from getting stiff.
Engage In Physical Activities
Research suggests exercising may help reduce joint pain and improve arthritis in some people.5 Exercising helps release feel-good hormones and can also help you feel relaxed and improve concentration. Exercises such as leg flutter kicks, arm/leg raises, and/or shoulder stretches are easy and can be performed at home.
If you do not like to exercise, performing daily activities that are joint-friendly are also a good way to stay active throughout the day. A few examples include:
- Taking the stairs
- Using a basket for light grocery shopping
- Tending your garden
Don’t Miss: Does Glucosamine Help Arthritis Pain
What Causes Arthritis In The Hands To Flare Up
If you have been experiencing arthritis flare-ups, there may be a good reason as to why.
If you have any joint pain or stiffness, think about a few reasons why this is happening. It could be the weather in stress that is causing your flare-up.
Fatigue, fever, and too much activity may also be causes for arthritis in the hands to flare up tremendously.
If you have very bad flare-ups, you should contact your doctor. Things like weather, stress, food, and too much activity are bound to help you have a flare-up.
Anything that causes anxiety and stress on your body can be quite dangerous. Check your local weather every night before you go to sleep. This was if it is cold, you are already prepared.