Living with arthritic hands can be difficult for most people, especially because your hands are used for most daily activities. Arthritis is a condition which affects the joints that form the connection in between the bones of your body. The joints suffer immense inflammation and people with arthritis experience intense bouts of agonizing pain. There are various types of arthritis such as osteoarthritis, which is the degenerative disease of joints, or rheumatoid arthritis which causes the immune system to attack your joints. In both cases, the joints are targeted and cause swelling in those areas affected.
Arthritis acts on the cartilage of the joints and wears them out, affecting the cushioning material located between the bones. These cushions are extremely important for easy movement and lubrication of joints. The irritation causes stiffness in joints. When you are suffering from arthritic hands, you sometimes have difficulty in performing routine tasks such as typing on a keyboard or gripping commonly used items. People with arthritic hands will feel the strength of their hands diminish, which severely disrupts the flow of work.
Pain Management for Arthritic Hands
Numerous medicines have been produced in order to alleviate the pain and agony. Even then, patients often suffer from flare-ups which become unbearable at times. To counter that pain along with medicinal treatment, here are five tips you can follow to decrease your arthritic hands.
- Keep joints flexible and improve movement and motion with hand exercises. There are a variety of hand exercises to relieve pain symptoms and help you with the discomfort. Try to bend your fingers by keeping your hand straight; bend your thumb while keeping the other fingers straight; turn your hand into a fist; make an O with your fingers and thumb. These few hand exercises have greatly helped patients with arthritic hands.
- Learn to respect the pain and live with it. Overuse of medication and drugs to ease the pain might produce the complete opposite effect and lead to increased disability. On days when your hands are troubling you, limit your activity and do not stress your joints.
- Avoid prolonged grip and pinching with the hands. You can try different ways to go on with your daily routine without aggravating your symptoms. For example, If you are reading a book, prop it open instead of holding it with your hands for a long time.
- If you have daily exercise routines, you should be careful with the grasping of weights or handlebars. Do not hold them for a long time and apply the lightest possible pressure. Over-gripping will not help at all; learn to exercise for your heart instead of your hands.
- If you are a writer, try using large pens instead of felt tip pens which require a tight grip. Typing is also a good option, but make sure that you give yourself 15-minute breaks and do not work constantly without rest. Avoid using the handles of shopping bags and purses as they can cause strain on fingers. Use purses and bags which have a shoulder strap in order to exert the pressure on your body instead of hands.
Learn more about arthritis by visiting the Arthritis Foundation for the latest information and case studies about how to manage pain associated with arthritic hands.