From age and genetics to injuries and excessive use of your fingers and wrist for work, there are many causes of arthritis in the hands. While discomfort and stiffness are common symptoms of arthritis of the hands, improperly treating this medical condition can lead to physical deformities, loss of mobility, and severe pain. Unfortunately, your doctor may first recommend prescription medications and surgical procedures to treat your arthritic hands. However, pain medications and surgeries are dangerous and invasive. If you are one of the 50 million Americans living with arthritis, consider these natural pain relievers for effective relief.
Acupuncture is not for everyone, but it can be an effective option for treating your arthritis pain. After receiving approval from your doctor, consult a licensed acupuncturist to design a plan of action for your arthritic hands.
The acupuncturist will insert multiple needles into various "points" on your body. While this may seem painful, the thin needles will only cause slight pressure upon insertion.
Acupuncture regulates your body's nervous system and stimulates the natural release of endorphins, which effectively reduces arthritic pain.
Exercise may not be on top of your list of priorities when you are experiencing pain, but it can be beneficial for reducing your discomfort and your overall level of stress. Each morning, complete the following hand and wrist exercises:
- Full Hand Stretch – With your palm facing your face, hold your hand out in front of you. Move your thumb over and across your palm, touching its tip to the bottom of your small finger. Hold the thumb in this position for 10 seconds. Release the stretch after the time. Complete this stretch 20 times each morning for relief.
- Curling Stretch – Hold your hand in front of you, palm facing outward. Move your fingers into position to form the letter 'C.' Stay in the curled position for 15 seconds before releasing. Repeat multiple times on both hands.
- Fist Pump – Whenever your hands feel stiff, make a tight fist. Be firm, but do not use excessive force, as this may increase your pain. Hold your hand in the fist position for 20 seconds before releasing. Complete this exercise multiple times per day.
- Thumbs Up – Put your fist down on a table, with your thumb pointing up. Clasp your remaining fingers tightly into your hand, while leaving your thumb facing up. Hold the position for 10 seconds before releasing. Complete on both hands a few times each day.
- Wrist Stretch – If you are experiencing pain in your hands, you most likely also have discomfort in your wrist. To ease this pain, hold your arm out in front of you, bending your wrist downward. Use your opposite hand to press down on your bent arm's hand, which will stretch out your wrist. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds before releasing. Complete the stretch on both wrists.
Exercising your hands and wrist each day can help alleviate the symptoms of your arthritis.
While surprising to hear, utilizing water can reduce your arthritic pain. Hydrotherapy centers on the use of hot and cold water, in various forms, to reduce inflammation, which eases joint and muscle pain. To reduce the symptoms of your arthritis, consider the following tips for hydrotherapy:
- Go Warm, Not Hot – You may find the hot temperatures appealing, but excessive heat can affect your cardiovascular system. Soak in a warm water tub with temperatures between 92 and 100 degrees. Or, relax in a jetted hot tub with the same appropriate temperatures.
- Salt Solution – Add some Epsom salts to your bath. These salts contain magnesium, which can improve your bone and heart health.
- Compress – If soaking in a tub does not sound appealing, consider using a warm compress on your hands. Purchase a heating pad and rest on your hands for 10 minutes each day to ease discomfort.
Arthritis in the hands is a common problem that causes a great deal of pain. However, it does not have to decrease your quality of life. Using these tips, you can ease the pain in your arthritic hands without prescription medications or invasive surgeries. For more help decreasing your pain from arthritis, contact an arthritis specialist to learn about your rheumatology treatment options.