Treatment for My Aching Hands
Doing anything is difficult if your hands hurt, especially the thumbs. Unfortunately, when arthritis strikes the hands, it can affect multiple joints on both sides. As a result of aching hands, many people have to give up their favorite hobbies or even a career. Before you throw in the hand towel, consider some treatment methods for those painful, worn-out hands.
A counter-intuitive method for relieving hand pain is to use heat and keep the hands warm. One way to keep the hands warm is by using hand arthritis gloves. You would be amazed at how helpful this simple, cheap item can be for painful hands. Going another step further, some people purchase home paraffin wax units. Dipping arthritic hands in warm wax really helps to improve range-of-motion and relieve stiffness. If a paraffin wax unit is too expensive, try soaking your hands in warm water two or three times per day for 10-15 minutes. Warmth keeps the hands going.
Because inflammation keeps the hands swollen and painful, reducing inflammation with medications and/or nutrition can really make a big difference. When oral anti-inflammatory medications become too dangerous or cause too many side effects, some topical medications are definitely worth a try. Specifically, Flector Patches and Voltaren Gel are quite effective for treating hand pain. The hands lend themselves to topical pain relievers better than any other joint in the body. With less potential for side effects, these topical medications are great for daily use. However, an even better way to control inflammation naturally is by following an anti-inflammatory diet. Just by avoiding flour and sugar, you can help your body to control the pain and swelling without using medications. With good nutrition, you can not only treat hand arthritis, you can prevent hand arthritis too.
Once the hands become painful and disabled, a trip to a hand therapist can be extremely valuable to regain function in the hands. A hand therapist can help you improve strength, dexterity, and flexibility. Within a short period of time, you can learn some self-management techniques for relieving hand pain while maintaining your abilities to work and play.
But, when the hands are too far gone, and virtually useless, a trip to the hand surgeon might be the only way to find a solution. A hand surgeon can offer well placed injections of steroids into the joints and soft tissues. Even painful thumb arthritis can be substantially relieved with an injection. The thought of sticking a needle into the hand might make you cringe, but that is better than a knife. And the knife is exactly what some people get if the hands stop working. Many types of surgery exist for treating painful hands from the routine carpal tunnel release to the exotic joint replacement. A hand surgeon can be a good final stop on the road for treating hand pain.
So, do not throw in the hand towel yet, just because your hands hurt and do not work properly. Help can be at the tips of your fingers with the simple acting of warming up the hands to a simple phone call to schedule an appointment with a hand therapist or surgeon. You were born with two hands, fight to keep them working for you.
Christina Lasich, M.D., wrote about chronic pain and osteoarthritis for HealthCentral. She is physiatrist in Grass Valley, California. She specializes in pain management and spine rehabilitation.