More Tips For Your Hands
Moving your hands and fingers can help keep your ligaments and tendons flexible and increase the function of synovial fluid. Try regular hand exercises to strengthen muscles and relieve stiffness and pain. Simple exercises like flexing and bending, finger touching, and finger sliding may help keep your fingers limber.
Staying physically active while at the same time taking extra precautions against injury is vital not only for preventing arthritis, but also for your overall physical health.
Integrative Medicine Treatments For Hand Arthritis
Many doctors today recommend a treatment plan that uses integrative medicinea combination of conventional Western medicine and alternative medicine. Both Western and alternative treatments are supported by research.
Occupational therapy For many patients, hand exercises can be the most cost-effective treatment option.1 A licensed occupational therapist can teach a person exercises that help strengthen the joints in the wrists and fingers, improve hand dexterity, and protect joints from further degeneration.
SplintingStabilize and support the hand joints with splints. There are several different types of braces, including smaller braces that stabilize individual knuckles and larger ones that stabilize the wrist and hand. Bracing at night can prevent pain from interrupting sleep .
People who find braces too cumbersome or rigid to wear all the time may wear compression gloves or sleeves instead. The goal of these products is to support joints while allowing for some flexibility.
MedicationsBoth topical and oral pain medications can temporarily ease pain caused by hand arthritis.
- Topical pain relievers come in the form of creams, balms, gels, or patches, and are sold over-the-counter. Certain topical products require a physicians prescription.
Treating Hand Arthritis At Home
Arthritis limits hand dexterity and makes everyday tasks more difficult. Described below are several ways people can help relieve stress on their hand joints and make some tasks easier.
Rest the hands periodicallyGive the joints and tendons in the hand a needed break. For example, people who type at a computer may need to take regular breaks or divide their work into regular intervals, working for just 2 or 3 hours at a time.
Apply heat A warm compress or paraffin wax hand bath can soothe affected joints. Applying heat to the hand warms up the synovial fluid that lubricates joints, easing stiffness, and improving flexibility.
See When and Why to Apply Heat to an Arthritic Joint
Adapt when possible
A few simple lifestyle changes and products can reduce strain on the hands and minimize arthritis pain and swelling. For example:
- Wear coats and shirts with zippers instead of buttons.
- Use long zipper pulls, which are also larger than regular zipper pulls and therefore easier to grasp. Some specialized zipper pulls are made with looped cloth or nylon and allow the user to stick a finger through and pull up or down.
- Choose lightweight cooking and gardening tools that are easier to lift and hold.
- Buy slip-on shoes to avoid having to tie shoelaces.
In addition to making changes at home, people with arthritis may consider treatments recommended by their physician.
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Exercise #: Finger Lift
Place your left hand flat on a table, palm down. Starting with your thumb, lift each finger slowly off the tableone at a time. Hold each finger for a second or two, and then lower it. Do the same exercise with every finger of the left hand. After youre done with the left hand, repeat the entire sequence on the right hand.
Part 9 of 9: Wrist Stretch
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.
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Is It Arthritis In My Hand Or Tendonitis
Arthritis and tendonitis can mimic each other, so its important to understand the difference between the two. Tendonitis is inflammation of the tendons in your hand due to an injury or repetitive motion, and the pain can come and go suddenly or last for a few days.
Arthritis, however, is inflammation of the joint due to degenerative joint disease. There are many types of arthritis, but the most common forms are osteoarthritis , when the protective cartilage in the joint breaks down, and rheumatoid arthritis , when immune system attacks the joints. Early symptoms of arthritis include painful hand joints, burning sensation and decreased functionality of the hand and/or wrist.
Best Overall: Biofreeze Professional Pain Relief Spray
Extra-thick consistency, so it takes longer to rub in
Although you can certainly use Sportscreme in situations where exercise or movement wasnt involved, it is a good option for those with arthritis who may have overdone it on a particular day with walking, housework, gardening, or other activities. Or, if youre doing something that you anticipate will leave you sore, you can also use the product ahead of time. Sportscremes clean fresh scent is polarizing: some find it pleasant, while others would prefer a product with no scent at all.
Active Ingredients: Trolamine salicylate | Dose: Apply generously to the affected area. Massage into painful areas until thoroughly absorbed into skin. Repeat as necessary, but not more than 4 times daily. | Uses: Temporary relief of minor aches and pains
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Breath In Fragrant Spices
Pleasant aromas like lavender can alter the perception of pain, studies show. Japanese researchers found that lavender reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can make you feel relaxed and less aware of pain. But lavender isnt the only pleasant aroma that works as a natural home remedy for arthritis pain relief. Korean researchers found that arthritis patients experienced less pain and were less depressed when they were exposed to the aromas of a variety of kitchen spices, including marjoram, rosemary, and peppermint. For a pain-soothing aromatherapy treatment, add a teaspoon of one of these dried herbs to a quarter-cup of olive, coconut, or vegetable oil. Take a whiff periodically. Dont miss these other soothing essential oils for arthritis pain relief.
Make A Ginger Poultice
Applying crushed ginger to a painful join works along the same lines as capsaicinelements in the plant can deplete the bodys stores of substance P, a brain chemical that carries pain messages to your central nervous system. One study of 56 people found that ginger eased symptoms in 55 percent of people with osteoarthritis and 74 percent of those with RA. To treat yourself, peel and finely mince a 3-inch piece of fresh ginger. Mix it with just enough olive oil to form a paste, then apply it to the painful joint. Depending on where the pain is, you may need to wrap the paste in place with a gauze or a length of ace bandage. Leave in place for 10-15 minutes to allow the ginger to penetrate.
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Recognizing Symptoms Of Arthritis In The Hands
Women are more likely than men to have arthritis in their hands, and often people experience arthritis symptoms in their hands before other signs of arthritis show up. Different forms of arthritis affect the hands in different ways. For example, psoriatic arthritis, a type of arthritis related to the skin condition psoriasis, is most likely to cause pain in the joints closest to the fingernails , while in osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, cartilage can wear down in all the joints in the fingers and thumb. Symptoms of arthritis in the hands may include:
- Pain in some or all of the joints, including joints of the fingers, wrists, and thumbs
- The growth of bony knobs on finger joints
- Numbness in fingers
- Swollen, red, or warm joints
- Stiffness in the fingers, especially in the morning in patients who have rheumatoid arthritis
- Growth of lumps, or nodules, under the skin of the hands in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
- Fingers that look like swollen sausages in patients with psoriatic arthritis
- Difficulty with motions that require gripping and twisting, such as opening jars
The progression of arthritis in the hands can actually be measured. People with rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis lose bone density, which can be measured with bone-density scanning, while the joint damage of osteoarthritis can usually be seen on X-rays.
How To Choose The Best Arthritis Computer Mouse
To know what the best mouse for arthritis should look like, keep in mind the following important criteria:
No gripping should be necessary for moving the device around Clicking a button should be effortless and shifting the finger not required for further operation Considering the trackball device type, only select those which dont require the finger to be curled for scrolling
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What Are The Symptoms Of Arthritis In The Hands
Early symptoms include:
- Dull or burning joint pain, appearing hours or a day after increased use of your hands.
- Morning pain and stiffness in your hand.
- Swollen joints in your hand.
If you’ve had arthritis in your hand for some time:
- Symptoms are present more often.
- Pain may change from dull ache to sharp pain.
- Pain may wake you up at night.
- Pain may cause you to change the way you use your hand.
- Tissue surrounding your affected joint may become red and tender to the touch.
- Youll feel grating, grinding, cracking or clicking when bending your fingers.
- Your fingers cant fully open and close.
- Small bony nodules form on the middle joint of your fingers or at the top joints of your fingers .
- Your finger joints become large and deformed and abnormally bent, leaving your hands weak and less able to accomplish everyday tasks.
How Do I Get Rid Of Inflammation In My Joints
Treatments for Joint Inflammation
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Finger Or Hand Arthritis These 5 Nonsurgical Treatments May Help
Hand or finger arthritis can limit your ability to live your best, active life. And if you cant open a jar, grip your grocery bags or write a letter to a loved one without wincing in pain, it might be time to seek some solutions that may help. Many of these treatments are even safe and effective without surgery.
In fact, Nicholas J. Newsum, MD, board-certified orthopedic surgeon with fellowship training in hand, wrist, elbow and microsurgery, spoke to us about these five nonsurgical treatments for hand and finger arthritis.
Exercise #: Table Bend
Place the pinky-side edge of your left hand on a table, with your thumb pointed up. Holding your thumb in the same position, bend the other four fingers inward until your hand makes an L shape. Hold it for a couple of seconds, and then straighten your fingers to move them back into the starting position. Repeat 10 times, and then do the same sequence on the right hand.
Part 8 of 9: Finger Lift
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Run Hands Under Hot Water
If you dont have time for a full-fledged bath, try running your hands under hot water or using a heating pad, both of which have the same effect on your blood flow and circulation. You can purchase a heating pad online , or you can make your own by soaking a washcloth or towel in hot water. Or, go to the opposite extreme: Soaking your hands in a bowl of cold water filled with ice cubes can reduce inflammation and the pain it causes.
Why Go To A Hand Specialist For Arthritis
Painful and swollen hands are the first signs of arthritis. Arthritis can affect any part of your body, even the joints in your hands. It can make simple tasks like holding up a glass or mug, brushing your teeth, or turning a doorknob difficult.
While there is no cure for arthritis, you can manage symptoms and slow down the degeneration of your joints. Arthritis sufferers who get treatment and guidance from orthopedic doctors can live normal lives despite their condition.
An orthopedic hand specialist is trained and knowledgeable in various treatments that can ease the symptoms of arthritis in the hands and wrists. A hand specialist who is also a hand surgeon can perform surgical procedures that can help repair damaged joints and tendons in the hand due to arthritis.
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What Are The Components Of Arthritis Medicine
As previously mentioned, there are several types or classifications of arthritis medicine. Each one is intended for a condition or symptom. Choosing and finding the best medicines for arthritis pain will be easier if you know what you need.
Here are the most common arthritis medications:
Acetaminophen. This medication can be one of the best medicines for arthritis pain. It is used for managing pain caused by arthritis. It is available over-the-counter and does not need a prescription from the doctor. However, it is still important to inform your doctor if you plan to take acetaminophen for managing arthritis pain to make sure you will not have adverse reactions or allergies to it.
An example of an acetaminophen is Tylenol.
Corticosteroid. These are steroid medications that help control and reduce inflammation. They are usually prescribed for people with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. These, however, need doctors prescription and cannot be bought over-the-counter.
Examples include Medrol and Deltasone.
DMARDS. DMARDs are Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs. They are intended for alleviating pain, and symptoms cause by rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune conditions. DMARDs work by controlling the immune system reactions. However, like NSAIDS, they can cause specific side effects, such as a decrease in the production of red blood cells damage to lungs, stomach, mouth, and intestines and liver damage.
Benefits Of Using Special Ergonomic Mouse For Arthritic Hands
Ergonomic designs have been the point of interest of many modern companies. The increasing demand produced a steady flow of new interesting designs. A computer mouse for arthritic fingers can have several entirely different bodies, each aimed at eliminating the stress on a particular joint or their combination.
In some cases, instead of the mouse, you will get a joystick that allows you to relax the grip while using the device and take the tension off those pained joints. Other times special ergonomics will be applied, making the mouse feel molded around the hand.
Regardless of the type of computer you use, the stress inflicted by constant typing, navigating, and scrolling can be very big. Special designs to prevent future health issues and relieve the existing pains are crucial for extended use.
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What Are The Symptoms
RA sufferers are familiar with the severity of the pain associated with stiff and sore joints. Some describe it as having sprained all the joints in their bodies at once. Now imagine that with simultaneous fatigue, appetite loss, and feeling feverish, and you can easily envision how they are apt to feel downright lousy. Then to add insult to injury, some suffer through those episodes it for years and years. The most common signs and symptoms are:
* Swollen joints* Pain and stiffness in the joints, especially after periods of inactivity * Extreme fatigue
Even though RA is not life threatening, you will feel pretty miserable. And thats no way to live your life. Youll be searching for relief and relief that works.
Topical Therapy And Other Treatments
When first line treatment with anti-inflammatory medications is not appropriate, injections may be used. These contain a long-lasting anesthetic and steroid that can provide pain relief for weeks to months. Topical NSAIDs appear more effective than placebo for arthritis of the hand. Topical NSAIDs should be considered early in the treatment of patients with mild osteoarthritis affecting a few joints, especially of the hand. Among these, topical capsaicin may be of benefit for osteoarthritis of the hand or the knee.
Other therapies include the following:
- Splinting: Ithelps supporting the affected joint to ease the stress placed on it from frequent use and activities.
- Rest and exercise: A combination of rest for active arthritis and exercises to maintain joint range and muscle activity are both essential. Exercise in a hydrotherapy pool is especially popular and effective.
- Surgical treatment: Single joint disease can be treated by surgical synovectomy to reduce the bulk of inflamed tissue and prevent damage. Excision arthroplasty of the ulnar styloid reduces pain and risk of extensor tendon damage.
Emery, P., Sebba, A., & Huizinga, T. W. . Biologic and oral disease-modifying antirheumatic drug monotherapy in rheumatoid arthritis. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 72, 1897-1904.
Yazici, Y., Shi, N., & John, A. . Utilization of Biologic Agents in Rheumatoid Arthritis in the United States. Bulletin of the NYU hospital for joint diseases, 66.
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How An Ergonomic Mouse Can Help With Arthritis Sufferers
People mistakenly assume that if the mouse is ergonomic, it will serve to relieve pain. The truth is that ergonomic does not equal arthritis-appropriate. Most such devices are intended to reduce repetitive stress injuries, which is not enough.
The computer mouse for arthritis fingers will minimize the need for small joint movements with the help of proper positioning. It means supporting the wrist and redesigning the buttons to respond to the tiniest motions.
The thumb trackball, which many consider as the solution, is often making things worse. It is putting an incredible strain on the thumb that needs to do lots of tiny motions in order to navigate the pointer.