Have you started having dull, achy soreness in your joints or quick, sharp pains in your hands with activities? Have you been chalking these symptoms up to just getting old; thinking there is nothing you can do to change it? Well, you could have Osteoarthritis in some of your hand joints and there definitely is something you can do about it. Here are some techniques you can use to decrease pain and prevent further deformity; even without visiting a physician.
- Heat to loosen joint stiffness and decrease pain. The best way to achieve this is with warm rice; heat 2 lbs of uncooked, plain, long grain rice in a microwaveable container for 1-2 minutes. Be sure to stir the rice and check that it is not too hot. Gently work on gripping and moving your hand through the rice for 5-10 minutes as needed. You could also use heating pads, hot shower/bath, and/or paraffin wax.
- Ice packs to inflamed joints to decrease pain.
- Isotoner edema gloves can provide compression to inflamed joints and decrease pain.
- Modify activities to use larger joints/larger muscles to complete activities such as carrying grocery bags on your forearm instead of gripping with hands.
- Use both hands to lift objects as well as lifting them closer to your body rather than farther away.
- Consider replacing frequently used tools or utensils with wider handles to place thumbs in a better position to handle force put through them.
- Use a jar opener, vegetable chopper, larger pen, etc to compensate for activities that you know are painful which can continue to flare your pain.
If you try these easy, at-home remedies and do not have a decrease in your joint pain, consider requesting a referral from your primary care physician to consult a hand surgeon. A hand surgeon can provide you with an official diagnosis and discuss treatment options. One of the first treatments of arthritis can be conservative management by a hand therapist. We at Milliken Hand Rehabilitation Center would be more than happy to help you manage your arthritic pain to allow you to participate in your chosen daily activities to your heart’s content.
If you are needing more help with the hand pain that you are experiencing, our team at the Milliken Hand Rehabilitation Center is here to help you!