If your hands are pain-free, it’s easy to take them for granted. But when you have arthritis, you notice just how important your hands are for everyday living. And how you deal with the pain in going about simple tasks can set the tone for the kind of day you’re going to have.
Your treatment options for hand pain and other symptoms depend on your specific type of arthritis and how severe your case is. So talk to your doctor directly about medications, injections and other treatments that may help. But beyond medical treatments, you can take steps on your own, and with the help of proper hand exercises and some “Cold Therapy” you can help yourself to get a grip on your condition.
Take advantage of timing Hand pain varies for different types of arthritis.
For example, people with osteoarthritis tend to have pain that gets worse as the day goes on. If this applies to you, try being more active in the morning. Get your gardening or yard work — and other activities that require heavy hand use — done early. Schedule your tee time or tennis game for the morning. You’ll feel and perform better as a result.
People with rheumatoid arthritis or other inflammatory conditions may feel the opposite. They tend to wake up stiff. As the day goes on, they loosen up. If that describes you, save your activities for the afternoon and evening, when you feel your best.
In either case, don’t overdo it. For people with arthritis, the “play through the pain” sports cliché offers a recipe for injuries. The main aim of arthritis treatment is to provide pain relief and improve the mobility and strength of joints. Treatments for osteoarthritis can help relieve pain and stiffness, but the disease may continue to progress. The same was true for rheumatoid arthritis in the past, but treatments in recent years have been able to slow or stop progression of joint damage. Many rheumatologists recommend cooling therapy to help reduce inflammation and ease the pain and stiffness.
To use, wrap a Physicool cooling bandage around the arthritic joint to draw heat out and reduce pain and inflammation. Physicool is clinically approved cooling therapy used within the NHS, by physiotherapists and at home. Each bandage is reusable and affords all of the benefits of ice without the need for refrigeration, the pain that ice can cause, and the mess.
Once applied to the arthritic area, the coolant on the bandage will evaporate. As evaporation occurs heat is drawn our of the area. This cools the underlying tissues and bones greatly reducing swelling and the pain felt. The bandage can be used for as long as required without any risk of ice-related damage. The cooling benefit will reduce pain and swelling while the compression will limit inflammation.
Hand exercises can help strengthen the muscles that support the hand joints. This can help you perform hand movements with less discomfort. Movement can also help to keep ligaments and tendons flexible, which can help improve range of motion and hand function. Finally, exercise can increase the production of synovial fluid, which can also improve joint function.
Exercise #1: Make a fist:
You can do this easy exercise anywhere and any time your hand feels stiff. Start by holding your left hand out with all of your fingers straight. Then, slowly bend your hand into a fist, placing your thumb on the outside of your hand. Be gentle, don’t squeeze your hand.
Open your hand back up until your fingers are straight once again. Do the exercise 10 times with the left hand. Then repeat the whole sequence with the right hand.
Exercise #2: Finger bends:
Start in the same position as in the last exercise, with your left hand held up straight. Bend your thumb down toward your palm. Hold it for a couple of seconds. Straighten your thumb back up. Then bend your index finger down toward your palm. Hold it for a couple of seconds. Then straighten it. Repeat with each finger on the left hand. Then repeat the entire sequence on the right hand.
Exercise #3: Thumb bend:
First, hold your left hand out with all of your fingers straight. Then, bend your thumb inward toward your palm. Stretch for the bottom of your pinky finger with your thumb. If you can’t reach your pinky, don’t worry. Just stretch your thumb as far as you can. Hold the position for a second or two, and then return your thumb to the starting position. Repeat 10 times. Then do the exercise with your right hand.
Exercise #4: Make an ‘O’:
Start with your left hand out and fingers straight. Then, curve all of your fingers inward until they touch. Your fingers should form the shape of an “O.” Hold this position for a few seconds. Then straighten your fingers again. Repeat this exercise a few times a day on each hand. You can do this stretch whenever your hands feel achy or stiff.
Exercise #5: Table bend:
Place the pinky side edge of your left hand on a table, with your thumb pointed up. Holding your thumb in the same position, bend the other four fingers inward until your hand makes an “L” shape. Hold it for a couple of seconds, and then straighten your fingers to move them back into the starting position. Repeat 10 times, and then do the same sequence on the right hand
So with some effort on your part you can help yourself to stay limber and continue to enjoy movement without having to deal with excessive pain. But when you do feel a twinge, bring out the Physicool Bandage and apply it as instructed and you will feel the relief you need to help get you through your day.