Welcome to our comprehensive guide on What To Do for Hand Arthritis relief. Hand arthritis is a common form of joint inflammation that affects millions of people worldwide. It can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in the hands, making daily activities challenging. However, there are several methods available to relieve hand arthritis pain and improve function.
In this article, we will highlight five effective methods for hand arthritis relief. These methods include lifestyle changes, medication options, physical therapy, splints and braces, and alternative therapies. We will also provide tips for managing hand arthritis in daily life and answer frequently asked questions about the condition.
Our goal is to help you find the right approach to manage your hand arthritis, reduce pain, and improve your quality of life. Let’s get started!
If you have hand arthritis, making lifestyle changes is an excellent way to alleviate pain and discomfort. These changes can help you manage your condition and maintain or improve your hand function.
Exercise and stretching are essential for maintaining hand mobility and reducing stiffness. If you have hand arthritis, your doctor may recommend specific exercises to strengthen your grip and improve finger dexterity. Some hand arthritis exercises include:
You can also try stretching your hands and fingers by gently bending them back and holding the position for a few seconds.
It’s essential to consult with a physical therapist or occupational therapist to design a personalized exercise routine that meets your specific needs and abilities.
Modifying daily activities is an essential aspect of managing hand arthritis. This includes avoiding activities that place excessive stress on the hands and joints. For instance, it’s advisable to utilize larger joints or muscles in your legs and hips instead of your hands and fingers to push yourself up from a chair or car seat. You can also use tools such as jar openers or reaching devices to reduce stress on your hands.
Assistive devices such as splints, braces, or specially designed ergonomic tools can help reduce stress on your hands, reducing pain and stiffness. There are several assistive devices available that can be used to reduce stress on your hands, including:
|Splints||Immobilize the joint and reduce pain and inflammation|
|Braces||Provide support and stability to the joint, reducing pain and promoting better hand function|
|Ergonomic tools||Designed to reduce stress on the joints, particularly in the workplace or during daily activities|
Consult with your doctor or occupational therapist before using any assistive devices to ensure their effectiveness and to avoid unnecessary side effects.
If lifestyle changes and physical therapy are not effective in managing hand arthritis pain, medication may be necessary. There are several types of medication available, both over-the-counter and prescription, that can help alleviate pain and inflammation.
|Medication Type||Examples||How they work|
|Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)||Aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen||Reduce pain and inflammation by blocking enzymes that produce prostaglandins|
|Corticosteroids||Prednisone, cortisone||Provide powerful anti-inflammatory effects and can be injected directly into the affected joint|
|Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)||Methotrexate, sulfasalazine||Slow down joint damage and disease progression by targeting the immune system|
|Biologics||Etanercept, infliximab||Target specific proteins that contribute to joint inflammation and damage|
It is important to discuss medication options with a healthcare professional. Over-the-counter medications may have potential side effects, and prescription medications should not be taken without proper guidance.
Remember: Always follow the prescribed dosage and inform your healthcare provider if you experience any side effects or complications.
Physical therapy can be extremely beneficial in managing hand arthritis pain. A physical therapist can customize exercise programs to help improve hand strength, flexibility, and function. Additionally, physical therapy can help reduce joint stiffness and improve range of motion.
There are many different techniques used in physical therapy for hand arthritis relief. Heat therapy is often used to reduce pain and inflammation, while massage can help improve blood flow and reduce muscle tension. An occupational therapist may also work with individuals to improve their daily living skills and teach joint protection techniques.
It is important to work closely with a physical therapist to develop a personalized treatment plan for hand arthritis relief. A therapist can help determine the appropriate exercises and techniques for each individual’s specific needs and adjust the treatment plan as necessary to ensure progress.
Splints and braces can be a helpful tool in managing hand arthritis pain and improving hand function. These devices provide support and stability to the joints, allowing them to rest and heal, while also reducing pain and inflammation.
There are different types of splints and braces available for hand arthritis, each suited for specific needs. For example, a wrist splint may help to immobilize the wrist joint, allowing it to rest and heal. A thumb splint, on the other hand, can offer support to the thumb joint and improve grip strength.
It is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most suitable type of splint or brace for your specific condition. A physical therapist can also help in choosing and fitting the device correctly.
Here are some common types of splints and braces used for hand arthritis:
|Wrist Splint||Immobilizes the wrist joint to reduce pain and inflammation|
|Thumb Splint||Provides support to the thumb joint and improves grip strength|
|Finger Splint||Stabilizes the finger joints and improves finger function|
|Glove Splint||Provides compression and support to the hand and wrist joints|
Splints and braces can be worn during daily activities or while sleeping, depending on the specific needs of the individual. They should be removed periodically to allow for movement and exercise.
It is important to note that while splints and braces can provide relief, they are not a permanent solution for hand arthritis. Physical therapy and lifestyle changes should also be incorporated into an overall treatment plan for optimal results.
While traditional treatments such as medication and physical therapy can be effective for hand arthritis relief, some individuals may seek additional relief from alternative therapies. Here are a few options to consider:
It’s important to note that while alternative therapies can be effective for some individuals, they should always be used as a supplement to traditional treatments and not as a substitute. Always consult with a healthcare professional before trying any new therapies, and be sure to inform them of any supplements or alternative treatments you are using.
For individuals with severe hand arthritis who have not found relief through other methods, surgical intervention may be necessary. There are various surgical options available to improve hand function and reduce pain.
Joint replacement surgery involves removing the damaged joint and replacing it with an artificial one. This procedure can significantly reduce pain and improve hand function, allowing individuals to perform daily activities with greater ease.
Joint fusion involves fusing the bones on either side of the affected joint to create one solid bone. This can be an effective method of reducing pain and improving hand stability, but it may also limit mobility.
Both joint replacement and joint fusion surgeries have their own risks and benefits. It is important to discuss the best option for your specific case with a healthcare professional.
Managing hand arthritis can be challenging, but there are many simple strategies that can make a big difference in daily life. Here are some tips:
Make sure your work and home environments are ergonomic, which means they are designed to minimize strain on the body. This can include using chairs with proper back support, adjusting the height of computer screens and keyboards, and using tools that are easy to grip and manipulate.
Use joint protection techniques to minimize stress on painful joints. This can include using larger joints to perform tasks instead of smaller ones, taking frequent breaks, and avoiding repetitive motions.
Use self-care strategies to help reduce pain and inflammation, such as ice or heat therapy, gentle stretching, and massage. You may also want to consider incorporating relaxation techniques into your routine, such as deep breathing or meditation.
Modify activities to make them more comfortable and manageable. This can include using assistive devices such as jar openers or reaching aids, breaking tasks into smaller steps, and delegating tasks when possible.
Stay active, even if it may be uncomfortable at first. Exercise is important for maintaining joint function and reducing pain. Consider low-impact activities such as swimming, yoga, or tai chi.
Get support from friends, family, or a support group. Having a strong social network can provide emotional support and help alleviate stress, which can exacerbate arthritis symptoms.
Living with hand arthritis can be challenging, but there are many strategies you can use to make daily life more manageable. By implementing some of these tips, you can reduce pain and stiffness, improve hand function, and continue doing the activities you love.
Consider using specially designed tools and equipment to reduce stress on your joints while performing daily tasks. This can include items such as padded handles, modified kitchen utensils, and supportive keyboards.
Be mindful of the way you use your hands and protect your joints from unnecessary stress. For example, use larger joints to carry heavy objects, spread your fingers apart when gripping objects, and use both hands to lift heavy items.
Self-care can go a long way in reducing hand arthritis pain and stiffness. Take frequent breaks during repetitive activities, apply heat or cold therapy to affected joints, and perform gentle stretching exercises to improve hand flexibility.
Make modifications to your home and work environments to make them more accommodating to your condition. This can include using a grab bar in the bathroom, adjusting your computer monitor to reduce neck and shoulder strain, and installing lever-style door handles instead of doorknobs.
Regular physical activity can help improve hand mobility and reduce stiffness. Consider low-impact exercises such as swimming, walking, or yoga, and make sure to incorporate hand exercises recommended by your healthcare provider or physical therapist.
Don’t be afraid to reach out for support from loved ones, healthcare providers, or support groups. Talking about your experience with hand arthritis can help you feel less isolated and provide valuable insights into managing the condition.
Jillian Hunt is a strong and inspiring individual who has been living with arthritis for over a decade. Despite the challenges she faces, she’s determined to find ways to manage her condition and improve her quality of life. She’s also an advocate for others who face similar challenges, sharing her insights on various forums.