Preventing arthritis in hands with exercise and natural remedies

By: Emily Lunardo | Arthritis | Wednesday, October 14, 2015 - 03:00 PM

Preventing arthritis in hands with exercise and natural remediesPreventing arthritis in your hands can be achieved with exercise and natural remedies. Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation of the joints. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which wears out the protective cartilage found between the joints. When cartilage is worn down it allows the bones to rub together, which can lead to deformities and structural changes.

Arthritis is a painful condition and can limit a person’s ability to complete daily tasks. But with the help of exercise and natural remedies, arthritis can be manageable.

Hands and arthritis

Hands and arthritisHands, in particular, can become affected by arthritis. Our hands are made up of many joints, including our fingers, thumbs, knuckles and wrists. Arthritis in the hands can lead to pain, swelling and stiffness, making it quite difficult to use the hands properly.

You may find your grip has become weaker and tasks that were once easy – like turning a faucet on – have now become much more difficult. To protect your hands it’s important to become aware of how you are using them. If certain hand motions lead to pain, you need to be more mindful of the movement and try something different instead.

Furthermore, using assistance devices can help aid in protection. For example, instead of picking up objects with one hand, you may want to begin using two or consider wearing a wrist brace.

Early signs of arthritis in the hands

Early signs of arthritis in the handsSymptoms of arthritis in the hands are commonly:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Changes in surrounding joints
  • Warmth
  • Crepitation looseness
  • Cysts
  • Numbness in fingers

Causes of arthritis in the hands may be disease or trauma. Common types of hand arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is more common and generally affects older adults. This is considered a wear-and-tear form of arthritis as the cartilage begins to fade away, causing bones to rub together. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the immune system begins to attack its own joints. It commonly starts in smaller joints, usually in the hands and feet, and moves to larger joints, such as the hips.

Trauma, like fractures and dislocations, can contribute to arthritis as well. Even when joints are properly treated they are still more likely to develop arthritis than an uninjured joint.


Natural remedies for arthritis in hands

There are natural ways to combat the pain, stiffness and swelling associated with arthritis. These natural remedies can provide rest for your hand and reduce the pain and stiffness you may be feeling.

  • Natural remedies for arthritis in handsIce packs: Just like an injury, when inflammation occurs it’s important to apply ice packs to reduce it. Applying ice packs regularly can reduce irritation and soreness associated with arthritis.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is a natural anti-inflammatory. Drinking a teaspoon with some warm water daily can work as a natural anti-inflammatory.
  • Honey and cinnamon: This combination is best used to relax stiff muscles. Honey has antiseptic properties and cinnamon is a natural anti-inflammatory. Combine a tablespoon of honey with half a teaspoon of cinnamon and consume each morning on an empty stomach.
  • Epsom salt: Epsom salt can help reduce stiffness, inflammation and pain. It is packed with magnesium, which is essential for bone mineralization. Simply combine Epsom salt with water and allow your sore hands to soak.
  • Natural remedies for arthritis in handsOlive oil: You can massage olive oil onto your hands or consume it with meals as a means to reduce inflammation.
  • Garlic: Another natural anti-inflammatory, garlic should be consumed regularly to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Fenugreek seeds: Fenugreek seeds are anti-inflammatories that also provide antioxidants. To prepare, soak fenugreek seeds overnight in water. In the morning drain the water and consume the seeds.
  • Castor oil: Castor oil contains ricinoleic acid which can bring down inflammation and reduce pain. You can massage castor oil onto your hands daily.

Exercises for treating hand arthritis

Another natural remedy is to perform specific hand exercises to improve mobility, strength and reduce pain. Below are some hand exercises you can utilize to ease your hand arthritis.

Exercises for treating hand arthritisMake a fist: This is as simple as it sounds – just make a fist. It may not seem difficult, but when your hand is inflamed, stiff and in pain, even making a fist can seem like a challenge. For this exercise, practice making and releasing a fist. Try to make your fist tighter and tighter each time.

Finger bends: With your hand wide open take turns bending each finger one at a time. Hold the finger bend for a few seconds before releasing it.

Thumb bend: Similar to finger bend, but this motion only requires the bending of your thumb. Once bent, hold for a few seconds, release and repeat.

Make an “O”: Start with your hand open, but bring your fingers and thumb together as if you’re creating the letter O. In this position your fingers and thumb should have a slight bend to them. Hold this position, release and repeat.

Table bend: Place your hand on its side, pinky side down, on top of a table – your thumb should be facing the sky. Position your fingers as if you are giving a thumbs up – fingers curled into palm, thumb up in the air. With thumb still pointing up, release your fingers so your hand looks like an L – repeat.

Finger lift: With your palm face down on a table top, take turns lifting one finger at a time away from the table. Hold it up for a few seconds, and then place it back down.

Wrist stretch: With your arm out in front of you, bend your hand at the wrist downward. For added stretch use your other hand to pull down the bent wrist even further.

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