Arthritis in Hands and Wrists

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Hand and wrist pain is often due to arthritis, mainly if it occurs later in life, after the age of 50. Your hands play an all-important part in every activity you engage in during every day, whether it be at work, at home or in a sport or hobby.

Whether it be at work, sports or a favorite hobby, your hands will be at the centre of the operation. Everyday jobs in the house, such as cooking, cleaning and specially D-I-Y, can be a real problem if you have pain and stiffness in your hands.

If you work in a kitchen, whether it is at home, or in a restaurant or cafe, there is enough danger without the added risk of weak or clumsy hands.

INFLAMMATION: is defined as a localized reaction of tissue to irritation, injury, or infection and it’s what causes the pain in the joints. Inflammation symptoms definitely include pain and stiffness and may also show redness and swelling and, in some extreme cases, deformation of the joint We generally think of inflammation as the painful part of arthritis.

TREATMENT: is designed to relieve pain and restore function. Various anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and diclofenac are taken to treat arthritis, although many everyday foods and supplements provide strong anti-inflammatory benefits.

Please be aware of the dangers in relying too heavily on anti-inflammatory painkillers and using them over long periods of time. In certain circumstances, they can be extremely dangerous and even life-threatening.

An alternative means to get the anti-inflammatory effects is to use a cream or lotion to massage into the joint and hence avoid ingesting the
drug. This is best applied at bedtime.

Heat treatment, either in the form of warm wax or paraffin baths, or by heat from a radiant health lamp possibly could provide relief from the pain but it won’t cure the condition. You must keep your fingers as nimble as possible, even by making small drumming, piano-like movements on the arm of your chair.

Alternating hot and cold treatment will help to improve the circulation and repress the pain and stiffness.A cortisone injection can often provide relief of symptoms, but does not cure the arthritis.

Surgery is usually not advised unless these more conservative treatments fail. Surgery is a last resort, when the pain has become too acute or where the stiffness and lack of movement has rendered the hand unusable.

One type of surgery is joint fusion, in which the arthritic surface is removed and the bones on each side of the joint are fused together, removing motion from the problem joint.

Depending on the patient and the severity of the operation, it can take a long time to recover from this operation. I had this operation on my right wrist and it was six months before I could hit a golf ball.

DIET: You can do a great deal to reduce your arthritis symptoms by eating a sensible diet. Most vegetables, herbs, spices and fruits (particularly berries) have excellent ant-inflammatory properties. Ginger and turmeric are particularly good.

Fish oils, which contain two Omega 3 fatty acids, called EPA and DHA, are important in keeping us in top form, particularly when it comes to heart and joints. Oily fish, such as sardines, tuna, mackerel and salmon are an important part of your diet, to provide Omega 3 oils, or an alternative to fish is cold pressed flax seed oil.

Avoid foods that contain preservatives and sugar, which seem to aggravate the situation, as well as foods with a lot of animal fats.

Processed meats such as lunch meats, hot dogs and sausages contain chemicals such as nitrites that are associated with increased inflammation and chronic disease.

Reduce smoking, which reduces the amount of oxygen in the tissues. Maintain the proper body weight, preferably within the parameters of the Body Mass Index, which are usually between 20-25.

The importance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, in a balanced diet, can not be over-emphasised. Several studies have shown that vitamin E combined with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may lead to the improvement of the condition and reduce the pain in patients.

Fruit and vegetables are a fundamental component of a healthy diet, because they contain a rich supply of antioxidants.

Vitamin D is not present in many foods. It plays a crucial part in helping the body absorb calcium, which is necessary for bone strength and in fighting osteoporosis. So, it’s a good idea to take vitamin D supplements, but an even better idea is expose your skin to sunlight
daily (always with caution), in order to force your body to produce more vitamin D.

EXERCISE: When your hands are tired and painful, the last thing you want to consider is more work but you must keep your joints moving. If you don’t keep your fingers moving, the stiffness and pain will surely get worse.

Just going about your daily household tasks will ensure you get some movement but some specific exercises each day will improve flexibility.
Just washing your hands in a basin of hot water will help to improve the circulation and reduce the pain.

HOUSEHOLD AIDS: There is a great and varied selection of devices to help you deal more easily in the home.

One small tool removes pills from various pill packs and collects them in the handle.

A key turner has a curved built in handle to fit yale or mortice type door keys, providing extra leverage.

You can buy a tool, with a long handle, which fits over most types of tap and will give you much greater leverage with little effort.

Special Pencil and Pen Grips make writing more controllable.

Wearing oedema gloves during the night may bring comfort and relief from the pain. They provide gentle compression which acts to reduce swelling and the pain of arthritis in the wrists and hands.

Electrical plugs can be really hard to insert and even harder to remove but a handiplug has a useful looped handle to give a stronger grip.

Mounted table scissors can be operated by the pressure of one hand depressing the “T” shaped handle. Once pressure is released, the scissors open automatically.

Specially adapted light switches and phones are yet more aids to make life a little bit easier.

Ken Charles suffered with chronic arthritis and back pain for many years – but not any more! He is a keen student of alternative remedies and his other interests are golf, dogs and the internet. Discover how Ken found Relief From Arthritis Hand Pain and why he’s still golfing regularly, in spite of the arthritis.

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