The last thing you want is surgery to help you deal with hand pain. An extended recovery and the possibility that the pain will not subside do not always seem worth the risk.
Hand pain is far more than an annoyance, however, which is why many consider surgery. The stiffness and swelling that accompany the pain can make it nearly impossible to carry out essential daily functions like getting dressed or feeding yourself.
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common causes of hand pain. The shock-absorbing cartilage between bones wears away or becomes damaged, so bones essentially rub on each other.
Pain can also be the result of nerve conditions, tendinitis, or inflammation.
Here are five things that may be able to help you manage hand pain.
Splinting: A splint can stabilize the position of your fingers, thumb, or wrist. Wearing one for a few weeks when arthritis flares up may help settle down inflammation.
Hot and Cold: Heat can loosen things up when your hands become stiff. A hot shower may be all it takes to relax joints to regain your desired mobility. Cold may help quell pain that comes from an activity, like playing tennis. You can apply it with flexible gel pads or even a bag of frozen peas or corn, which will conform to the shape of your hand.
Exercises and Stretches: Stretching and strengthening the muscles in the hand and wrist can also aid with pain by helping joints absorb stress. A physical or occupational therapist can offer the best movements to try.
NSAIDs: Non-steroidal drugs (NSAIDs) can help relieve hand pain by blocking enzymes that produce pain and swelling. These products will not work, however, for pain resulting from carpal tunnel. These products should not be used as a long-term solution, as they can lead to ulcers, liver damage, stomach bleeding, and a higher risk of heart attacks.
Injections: Corticosteroid injections can also help with pain and may offer relief for up to one year.