Are you suffering from pain in your hands, fingers or wrists? Do you need tips and relief for dealing with arthritis hand pain?
Depending on the weather, dealing with arthritis hand pain can be difficult.
As we age, the pain in our fingers and hands can become worse-even debilitating. The joints can also become deformed from damage.
What causes pain in the hands
There are several things that can cause pain in the hands, fingers, and wrists.
Some of the causes are:
- Carpal tunnel
- Arthritis (RA or Osteoarthritis)
Symptoms include the following:
- Muscle weakness
- Decreased range of motion and loss of joint function
These can be treated with both holistic and traditional medicine. The first thing to do is identify the cause of the pain by seeing your doctor for a medical exam and diagnosis.
5 Tips to cope with arthritis hand pain
Below are 5 strategies that can be used to cope with arthritis pain in your hands.
- Hot and cold therapy can be achieved by using clay packs or soaking your hands in warm or cold water. To get the benefits of soaking your hands in warm water without having to soak your hands in warm water, you can do your dishes by hand so that you can experience relief while doing something productive. Cold therapy reduces inflammation that leads to pain and stiffness while heat loosens tight muscles and improves circulation.
- Essential oil such as nutmeg can be used for pain relief by gently massaging it into the hands, wrists, and fingers. Other essential oils that are effective for rheumatoid arthritis are peppermint, eucalyptus, ginger, turmeric, and frankincense. Essential oils for osteoarthritis include turmeric, ginger, peppermint, lavender, and lemon. One particular essential oil that works well for arthritis overall is MegRelief.
- Compression gloves can help reduce swelling, pain, and stiffness by applying gentle pressure on the hands and fingers. They also increase circulation which helps reduce the inflammation and the pain.
- Medication can range from over-the-counter to prescription. NSAIDs/anti-inflammatories are prescribed most often. If the arthritis is severe, the doctor may prescribe biological or disease-modifying drugs and pain medications. The problem with these drugs is the associated side effects and the possibility of becoming addicted to opioids.
- Exercise can help restore range of motion and lessen the stiffness. It will also help ease the pain. It may be difficult at first and you should not overdo the exercises. Start slowly and build up. It will also help restore muscle strength in the area.
Exercises for your hands, fingers, and wrists
There are exercises that can help strengthen the hand, finger, and wrist muscles as well as reduce pain. They also restore range of motion allowing you to do more of the daily things you need to do.
Start with making a fist with the thumb on the outside of the fingers. You may not be able to get completely into a fist position, but go as far as you can. Hold that position for four to five seconds and release. Repeat this five to ten times to make a set. The goal is to get all the way into a fist and do several sets of these every day. The nice thing is that you can do these exercises anywhere-at home, work, or even standing in the checkout line at the grocery store. Do both hands.
The next exercise is finger bends. This is done by bending one finger at a time starting with the thumb. Bend each finger toward the palm of your hand. Try to bend the fingers at each joint toward the palm of your hand and hold for four to five seconds. Repeat five to ten times for a set. Same as with the fist exercise, you can do these anywhere. Do this exercise on one hand then on the other.
The next exercise is the O. Bend all of your fingers and thumb in until they touch forming an O. Hold for four to five seconds and repeat five to ten times to make a set. Do several sets a day.
For pain in the wrist, you can do the wrist bend. This is done by holding the arm straight out out and then bending the hand toward the inside of the arm, use the other hand to gently apply pressure so you feel it start to stretch and hold for four to five seconds. Repeat five to ten times and do several sets a day.
Exercise is important, but so it resting from repetitive motion. If your hobbies or work require repetitive motion, do what you can to take rest periods from those motions. If it is a hobby, you may wish to find another hobby so that you can go back and forth between the two to provide rest from repetitive motions.
Diet is important
Lastly, diet is important. There are foods that can aggravate or trigger arthritis pain to become worse, but there are also foods that can reduce the symptoms of inflammation and pain.
Pay attention to your diet and avoid foods that trigger pain and inflammation in your hands.
A good diet will provide a variety of foods that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. One diet that is good for arthritis is the Mediterranean diet.
Foods that can aggravate hand pain
Some foods that can trigger or aggravate arthritis pain are listed below:
- Fried and processed foods
- Sugars and refined carbs such as junk food
If you think a particular food or food group is triggering inflammation, keep a journal; this can be a huge help. Write down what you eat and drink along with how your joints are feeling. Once you do this for a couple of weeks, try eliminating one food or food group for a month and see if your pain diminishes, then try eating it again and make notes on what your pain levels do. This can also help you lose weight if you need to.
Foods that can help relieve hand pain
Just as there are foods that can make the pain worse, there are foods that can help reduce inflammation and pain.
Some of these foods are:
- Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Whole grains
- Beans and lentils
- Nuts and seeds
These tips can help you deal with arthritis pain in your hands, regain range of motion, and reduce inflammation.