Arthritis can be a debilitating condition, causing pain and discomfort throughout the body. For those suffering from arthritis in their hands, this is especially true. The joints become swollen and stiff, making even simple everyday tasks difficult to complete. Understanding more about this condition and the various treatment options available is an important step towards managing symptoms and improving quality of life. Arthritis in your hands is usually caused by wear and tear of the joints due to aging, as well as overuse from repeated motions. Inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis can also cause pain and swelling around the joints. In this article, we’ll explore symptoms to be aware of and various treatments for relief.
What are Symptoms of Arthritis in Your Hands?
The symptoms of arthritis in your hands can range from mild to severe. Common signs include:
- Swelling tenderness
- Decreased range of motion
- Redness and warmth around the joint
- Clicking or cracking noises during movement
- Weakness in the affected area
- Difficulty performing daily tasks with your hands
In more advanced cases, the joints may become deformed as the cartilage deteriorates due to untreated arthritis.
Treatments for Arthritis Hand Pain
Family Integrative Medicine offers personalized non-surgical treatment methods that will relieve your arthritis hand pain. These treatments include:
- Enriched Plasma Therapy: By introducing platelets and proteins to the area, EPT can help reduce swelling and pain associated with arthritis. This can make everyday tasks such as opening jars, turning doorknobs, and typing on a keyboard much easier. In addition to reducing inflammation, EPT can also improve strength and range of motion in the hand.
- Red Light Therapy: Red light therapy is believed to work by stimulating the production of collagen and elastin in the skin. Collagen and elastin make up connective tissues, such as tendons and ligaments, which are important for maintaining healthy joints. As a result, red light therapy can help reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain associated with arthritis in the hands.
- Nutritional IV Therapy: One of the primary ways Nutritional IV Therapy helps relieve arthritis symptoms in the hands is by increasing the body’s natural anti-inflammatory response. Nutrients such as B vitamins, magnesium, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids in nutritional IV therapy help with this.
- Ozone Therapy: One common method of ozone therapy is called “ozone injection,” which involves injecting a mixture of ozone and oxygen directly into the affected area. This method has been found to reduce inflammation and pain associated with arthritis in the hand for individuals.
- Medical Acupuncture: Medical acupuncture can help to reduce inflammation and improve circulation, which can reduce pain and improve hand mobility. It can also help to stimulate the release of natural hormones that can act as an analgesic or pain reliever.
- Decompression Therapy: Decompression therapy involves applying a gentle, continuous pull to the affected area to stretch the joint and reduce pressure on the surrounding muscles and ligaments. This can help provide pain relief, improve mobility, and encourage healing in those with arthritis.
- Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine: One of the most effective treatments for arthritis is Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine as it considers your unique symptom patterns and addresses each one with precision through a TCM differential diagnosis. That is why there are so many TCM herbal formulas that are customized to treat your arthritis pattern most successfully. These customized herbal medicine formulas combine herbs that have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, such as turmeric, camphor, angelica root, safflower, licorice root, and ginger.
- Physical Therapy: Physical therapy is typically designed to increase flexibility, reduce pain, and improve strength in the affected area. Other techniques that can be used in physical therapy for arthritis include joint mobilization, which is a form of manual manipulation that helps to restore movement to stiff joints.
Immediate Relief for Arthritis Hand Pain
Individuals suffering from arthritis pain might need immediate relief from the intense pain. When arthritis attacks your hands, it prevents you from accomplishing essential daily tasks. A few things you can do to temporarily relieve pain are:
- Cold Therapy: One of the easiest and most effective ways to experience immediate relief for arthritis in your hands is through cold therapy. This can be done by applying a cold compress or an ice pack to the affected area for 10-15 minutes at a time. The cold will help reduce inflammation of an acute flair up, numb the area, and provide some temporary relief from pain. You can also purchase special products designed specifically for cold therapy on your hands such as gloves with gel packs inside them that you can freeze and wear while going about your day. It is important to know that cold therapy is not a long-term solution and should not be utilized beyond temporary relief of acute symptoms because cold therapies prevent the proper flow of the blood to nourish and heal.
- Exercise & Stretching: Another way to experience immediate relief for arthritis in your hands is through exercise and stretching. Gentle exercises such as range-of-motion stretches, yoga poses, or light weightlifting can help to reduce inflammation and loosen tight joints. Make sure to consult with your doctor first before starting any exercise program.
- Minor Lifestyle Changes: Instead of wearing clothes that have knots, buttons, or zippers, try slip-on or Velcro shoes, shirts that pull over your head, and pants that have an elastic waistband. A day or two without doing these tasks that irritate arthritis can make a substantial difference.
- Topical Solutions: For temporary relief, over-the-counter gels, creams, or balms can alleviate pain. While these products are generally safe, certain ingredients can enter the bloodstream and impact other medications. Consult with your healthcare provider before using any of these products.
- Heat Therapy: This includes infrared heat which may be combined with tourmaline and magnet therapy. They are often used as complementary approaches to manage arthritis pain. While they may provide some relief for certain individuals, their effectiveness can vary from person to person, and they should be used in conjunction with other treatments and under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Infrared therapy can penetrate deep into the tissues and muscles, which may help increase blood flow and relax the muscles around the affected joints. Tourmaline is a mineral that is often used in products like heating pads and mats. Proponents claim that it emits negative ions and far-infrared radiation, which can have various health benefits, including pain relief. Magnet therapy involves wearing magnets or using products with magnets, like magnetic bracelets or mattress pads. The idea behind magnet therapy is that it may help improve blood circulation and reduce pain and inflammation.
- One product that produces excellent heat therapy is the UTK Quantum Wave Heat Pad. The natural stones and infrared rays in the heat pad are designed to relieve intense arthritis pain wherever you’re experiencing discomfort.
Exercises for Arthritis in Your Hands
Regular exercise can improve range of motion, strength, and overall hand function. Many exercises for arthritis hand pain can be completed from the comfort of your home. These exercises include:
- Range of Motion Exercises: Range of motion exercises are great for arthritis in the hands because they help keep your joints flexible and reduce stiffness. To perform these exercises, start by making a loose fist with your hand and gently rotate your wrist in a clockwise direction, then reverse the movement and rotate your wrist counterclockwise. You can also make circles with your thumb or fingers to help increase flexibility. Do each exercise 5-10 times on each hand.
- Strengthening Exercises: Strengthening exercises are important for maintaining muscles around the affected joint and preventing further damage from occurring to the joint. Try squeezing a foam ball or rubber band between your fingers to increase strength in the hand and fingers. You can also try squeezing a soft ball, such as a tennis ball, to help strengthen the muscles in your hands and fingers.
- Medical Massage: Massage can help reduce pain, stiffness and inflammation caused by arthritis in the hands. Gently massage the affected area with your fingertips in a circular motion for several minutes. You can also use a massage ball to increase the intensity of the massage if needed.
These are just some of the exercises that you can try to help reduce pain and stiffness caused by arthritis in your hands. Remember to always talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program and stop immediately if you experience any pain or discomfort.
FAQs About Arthritis Hand Pain
If you have any questions that are not mentioned below, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our medical staff.
- What is hand arthritis?
- Hand arthritis is a common joint condition that affects the hands and wrists. It occurs when the cartilage, which cushions the joints, becomes inflamed or damaged due to wear and tear over time. This can cause stiffness, pain, swelling, and deformity in the affected joints. Hand arthritis can limit range of motion and may even prevent some activities of daily living from being accomplished.
- Who is at risk for hand arthritis?
- Hand arthritis often develops as part of the natural aging process, but certain factors may increase one’s risk of developing it earlier in life. These include previous injury to the joint, genetics, obesity, smoking, certain medical conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes), and certain occupations (such as those involving repetitive motion).
- How is hand arthritis diagnosed?
- Hand arthritis is typically diagnosed through a physical exam and imaging tests such as X-rays or MRI scans. During the physical exam, your doctor will look for signs of inflammation in the affected joints as well as any deformities or limitations in range of motion. Imaging tests can help confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions. Blood tests may also be ordered to check for inflammation markers in the blood.
- Are there any lifestyle changes I should make if I have hand arthritis?
- Yes, making certain lifestyle adjustments can help alleviate hand arthritis symptoms and improve overall quality of life. These include maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, avoiding activities that put stress on the joints, and wearing splints at night to protect the joints while sleeping. It is also important to get regular exercise (such as swimming or yoga) to keep the joints flexible and strong.
- Are there any assistive devices I can use to help manage my hand arthritis?
- There are a variety of assistive devices available to help people managing hand arthritis better manage their condition. For example, ergonomic tools or adaptive utensils that feature enlarged handles can make it easier to hold and use items without putting too much strain on the joints. Specialized gloves may also be used to reduce swelling and provide extra warmth or support for the affected area. Splints and braces can be worn at night as well as during certain activities throughout the day to protect the joint from further damage or strain.
- What can I do to prevent further damage from hand arthritis?
- Preventing further damage from hand arthritis is an important part of managing the condition. A few simple measures can help protect your joints and reduce the risk of developing more severe symptoms. For example, try to avoid activities that put extra strain on the affected joints, such as lifting heavy objects or doing repetitive motions.
How Can Family Integrative Medicine Help Relieve Arthritis Symptoms in the Hands?
Family integrative medicine arthritis treatment offers a holistic approach to help alleviate arthritis symptoms in the hands. By combining conventional medical treatments with alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, herbal remedies, and nutritional counseling, this comprehensive approach aims to reduce pain and inflammation, improve joint mobility, and enhance overall well-being. Through a personalized treatment plan, family integrative medicine can provide relief and support for individuals experiencing arthritis discomfort in their hands.
Family Integrative Medicine Can Alleviate Arthritis Pain
Arthritis can be debilitating, especially when it infiltrates delicate joints in your hands and fingers. Although at-home remedies will provide temporary relief, getting to the root of arthritis hand pain will provide lasting results. Our friendly and knowledgeable medical staff will identify your condition and develop a personalized plan tailored to your specific needs. Whether you’re experiencing arthritis pain or a separate ailment, locate the office closest to you and give us a call today! 407.751.2192