Osteoarthritis Of The Hands: What To Do?
Osteoarthritis of the hands is both a painful and disabling problem. In fact, the hands and wrists are among the joints most often affected by these stiff joints. Here are some tips and exercises to help relieve the pain and regain a greater range of motion.
Relieve pain with heat or cold
When you have arthritis in your hands, fingers and/or wrists, you sometimes wonder what the best trick is to relieve stiffness and pain. If you're unsure whether to apply heat or cold to your aching hands, know that both have beneficial effects.
Applying heat, using a hot water bottle for example, loosens muscles and stimulates blood flow. It provides relief and helps regain flexibility.
The application of cold, in the form of an ice pack, helps to anesthetize the pain and helps the swelling to subside.
Another natural remedy to relieve arthritis of the hands pain is to apply a green clay poultice with anti-inflammatory and decongestant properties.
Mix two parts of clay powder with one part of cold water. Spread this paste on a compress that you simply place on the painful area. Leave it on for at least an hour, making sure that the clay paste remains moist.
Massage your fingers and warm them up
To relieve the stiffness and pain of osteoarthritis in the hands, you can gently massage your phalanges with the thumb and index finger of the opposite hand.
To complement this hand massage, move your fingers by folding them inward toward your palm, as if you were holding castanets.
Do this warm-up exercise for about 2 minutes, then dry your fingers as if your hands were wet and you wanted to get rid of drops of water. This movement helps to relax the hands and wrists.
To Note: It is best to always warm up before beginning the exercises we describe below and to gently shake your hands to relax them between each exercise.
Doing exercises that give relief
The following exercises are beneficial for osteoarthritis of the hands because they help to mobilize the joints, especially in the morning if you wake up with stiffness in the joints.
This workout will also help you strengthen the muscles around the joints affected by osteoarthritis, so that you can maintain the agility and strength of your hands.
1- The first exercise is to mobilize your wrists:
- close your fists, keeping your thumb on the outside
- rotate both wrists at the same time, in one direction and then in the other.
2- For the second exercise, start by joining hands in prayer at chest level:
- place your forearms parallel to the floor and try to form a straight line with both forearms.
- Point your joined hands to the sky and then to the front.
- bring your hands together to the sky and then rotate them toward your chest.
- do this forward and chest pivot several times, smoothly and without blocking your breath.
Try to reach your maximum range of motion, but not to the point of pain.
3- The third exercise is to stretch your fingers:
- clench your fists as hard as possible always keeping your thumb out and feel the stretch in your joints
- in a second step, open your hands by spreading your fingers as wide as possible
- alternate these two movements of closing and opening by going gently to reach the maximum stretching.
4- The last exercise consists of making an O with your hand :
- join the 4 fingers and round them, then bend the thumb
- try to touch the thumb and index finger to form an O
- even if you can't do it perfectly, do your best. With practice you will become more flexible.
Good to know
You can practice the above exercises even if you can't do them completely. The movement doesn't have to be perfect to be beneficial.
You should simply seek to achieve the maximum range of motion that you are capable of today, but without hurting yourself.
If you have swollen joints and are experiencing acute pain, don't practice! It is best to wait until the acute attack of hand osteoarthritis has passed before resuming these exercises.