Ten Home Remedies for Arthritic Hands that Don’t Involve Drugs!
In the US, arthritis is the single most common cause of disability. The annual cost in lost wages and medical expenses is estimated to be about $100 billion. Arthritis can be especially frustrating when it impacts your hands, leaving you unable to do ordinary things for yourself. One way to take back some control over your life is to use home remedies for arthritic hands. Doing so can reduce your dependence on medication, improve your quality of life and help your self-esteem. There is not much worse than feeling like a prisoner of your own body.
How Arthritis Affects the Hands
There are more than a hundred conditions classified as arthritis. The most common ones include rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA). This last one is a complication of psoriasis, which is much more than just a skin condition. It is an autoimmune disease.
The primary problems with arthritis involve the joints. Joints can be stiff, sore, painful, swollen and/or inflamed. It is debilitating because it limits the use of the affected joints, either through mobility issues or because it is simply too painful to tolerate your usual activities. It is also simply miserable.
Arthritis can also impact bone health and vital organs. The effects are not always limited to negative impacts on joint health and joint mobility. But, if you can get the joint pain under control and improve joint mobility, you can substantially improve comfort and quality of life. This is particularly true when it impacts the hands. This is why home remedies for arthritic hands are so popular.
Non-Drug Home Remedies
The best home remedy for arthritis in hands is not an OTC medication. Ideally, you want relief with drug side effects. In fact, you should be looking for ways to slow the progression of the condition or even improve function. Before you move to the nearest desert to alleviate your symptoms, try these home remedies.
1. Do Some Hand Exercises
Learn some simple hand exercises or even keep an exercise ball around. Exercising your hands can improve circulation, relieve soreness and reduce stiffness. Gentle stretches or even just clenching and unclenching your fist can help. It doesn’t have to be complicated. The point is just to gently move your hands, get the blood flowing and stretch your tendons and ligaments. Remember to do so gently. Don’t hurt yourself in the process of trying to relieve the pain.
2. Wash Dishes by Hand
If exercise isn’t your thing, then try washing a few dishes. Immersing your hands in hot water can give pain relief and the act of doing the dishes serves as gentle exercise. Exercising painful joints can be more tolerable when the pain is first brought down by the application of a little heat.
3. Get the Right Tools
If a particular task has gotten to be too difficult, there may be a better tool available. In fact, there probably is. You just need to go looking for it. Using lighter weight pans with large handles in the kitchen is a good place to start. You can also get jar openers and even can openers too that reduce the pain from arthritis.
This may not sound like a home remedy for arthritis in hands because it doesn’t treat arthritis, but it is. Not stressing the joints unnecessarily is one way to protect your health and reduce your pain. OA, in particular, is a degenerative condition. Slowing the degeneration should be a primary goal. Arthritis gloves help relieve pain for many arthritis suffers.
4. Cayenne Paste
One great home remedy for arthritis in hands is to mix some cayenne with olive oil to create a topical paste. The active ingredient in cayenne is capsaicin. It gets used in a variety of topical pain relievers. It can cause a burning sensation and you need to keep it away from your face, especially your eyes, nose, and mouth. But, one benefit of making it yourself is that you can control how hot you make it. Just play with the amount of cayenne until you find a level of treatment you like.
5. Hot and Cold Treatments
There are a variety of hot and cold treatments you can use. You can alternate dipping your hands in hot water and then cold water. Or, you can use an ice pack for up to twenty minutes. You can make a flexible heat pack with a cotton sock full of dry rice and microwave it. Try a hot bath, sleep with a heating pad or get an old-fashioned hot water bottle. These days, you can find some with their own cloth covering, making it easier than ever to avoid burning yourself.
This approach may be the best home remedy for arthritis in hands. There are no side effects, it involves no chemicals and there are many different ways to apply either heat or cold. It is super convenient. If you are out and about and your hands start bothering you, just be creative. Sit on a cold stone bench and gently press your hands against it. Alternately, do the same with a stone bench heated up by the midday sun. You could also use a hand air dryer in a public bathroom for a few extra minutes.
6. Anti-inflammatory Diet
Some studies show that eating a Mediterranean Diet can help reduce the symptoms of arthritis. This would be a diet rich in fruits, nuts and vegetables, using olive oil to cook and a limited amount of fresh, healthy meat. Skip the junk food. Some spices known to help control inflammation and pain for people with arthritis include hot peppers, ginger, and cinnamon. So, when in doubt, load up on the spices. Eat your favorite Mexican, Indian or Asian dishes rich in some of these spices.
7. Have Some Tea
Most teas have mild medicinal effects. Chamomile is known to help some people with arthritis, but black tea, green tea, and mint tea are also good candidates. A hot cup of tea can also serve as a mini heat treatment for your hands when you hold the cup to drink from it.
8. Get Enough Vitamin C
Studies show that getting enough vitamin C helps control the symptoms of arthritis. The best sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits, like lemons, oranges, and grapefruit. But, hot peppers are another good source of vitamin C, plus they contain capsaicin, which also can help control pain and inflammation. So, add a glass of orange juice to your breakfast and some hot peppers to your lunch or dinner.
9. Get Enough Calcium
Calcium is necessary to bone health and plays an important role in helping to control arthritis. Some forms of arthritis put you at increased risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to be weak and brittle and more prone to breaking. Getting enough calcium can help reduce joint pain while protecting you against developing osteoporosis as well.
10. Have Some Omega 3 Oil
Omega 3 oil is anti-inflammatory. Most people know that it comes from fish, but you can also get it from flaxseed oil and even from eating walnuts. If you can’t eat fish or simply don’t like it, you can still up your intake of Omega 3. Studies show that it helps support joint health and reduce inflammation. Omega 3 oils and fish are also foods that have been shown to help people with dementia too! Learn more about these foods here.
Do not let anyone convince you a little hand pain is no big deal. Arthritis is a major cause of disability, leading to reduced earnings in addition to the pain and suffering. You can get relief without turning to more drugs. Exercises, hot and cold treatments, dietary changes and the right tools can work wonders.
Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®
About This Site
Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS Founder / Editor
My name is Scott Grant and I work daily with seniors as a custom wheelchair specialist at a home medical equipment company. I see these people struggle as they lose their independence. I watch their families try to help them but most don't even know where to start. Few are even aware of their options. I'm here to help!
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