11 Expert Ways to Relieve Arthritic Hand Pain

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Assistive Technology Professional

These expert-approved methods to alleviate arthritis-related hand pain are a collection of natural, medical, and alternative methods that all work collectively to help you function better. Discuss these with your doctor and follow their recommendations.

close up of hands with arthritic hand pain
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Arthritis can affect your day-to-day activities, especially when it affects your hands and fingers. You can no longer prepare meals and go about your duties due to the excruciating pain and stiffness of these joints.

But how can you relieve arthritic hand pain?

Here, we have prepared some expert ways to go about it in a bid to ease your way into going about your day-to-day activities normally.

1. Splinting

This method, recommended by the University of Chicago School of Medicine, can stabilize aching joints effectively. It is one of the “rest approaches” used to cure arthritis. You can use splints and braces made of various materials to stabilize these joints. Notwithstanding the pain relief, you can comfortably go about some of your normal activities with the splints on. Some even use compression gloves for arthritis pains for better sleep.

If you are interested in compression products for arthritic hand pain relief, Copper Compression offers lots of compression gloves and sleeves. I’ve used their products personally and they are more comfortable than you might think. If you decide to give them a try, use my code GWG20 to save 20% off regular prices.

For instance, if the condition affects the base of one of your fingers, the splint will be installed in a way that holds the base of the finger. This way, the remaining part of the finger will be free to move. However, the splint will give you a constant reminder that you should not lift heavy items with your thumb.

2. Medication

This is an excellent place to start if you are experiencing pains in your fingers according to Medical News Today. You can get various over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen. The drugs will reduce these pains and allow them to function normally, in mild cases.

Note that most of these medicines have side effects, and taking them for a long time can increase the risk of conditions such as ulcers and heart attacks. It is also essential to consult a doctor to ensure that the drugs won’t affect any underlying health condition you might be suffering from.

Apart from pain relief drugs, one can be prescribed medicines that address arthritis. For instance, the progression of rheumatoid arthritis can be slowed down by certain medications, thus reducing the need for surgery.

3. Hand Exercises

Exercise is an excellent way to relieve the pain brought by arthritis, and it works even if it has affected the hands. They keep the supportive ligaments and tendons flexible, thus averting pain.

You can try making a loose fist and opening the fingers, repeatedly on each hand. Bend a finger slowly and then straighten it out all the way, working the affected fingers several times. When doing such exercise, make it gentle to avoid making the pain worse.

hand squeezing an exercise ball to relieve arthritic hand pain
Gentle exercise keeps the hand and fingers limber.

4. Cortisone Injections

Injecting cortisone into the affected joint can relieve the pain. This is recommended when some of the other methods are not effective. This relieves the inflammation in the joints, thus reducing the pain. It does not replace the rubbing by bones or the lost cartilage, but the effects can last for a significant period, allowing you to go back to normal activities.

5. Surgery

This method is applied to a significant minority of the patients. It is the ultimate way of relieving pain according to arthritis.org. The joint at the base of fingers is unique, and several surgical options are available depending on the severity of the condition.

However, most of these options entail the removal of a portion or all of the affected bone and utilize various methods to stabilize it. In some cases, the joint is removed and replaced if nothing can be done to reverse the damage.

6. Heat and Cold

This is one of the basic ways to try and relieve the pain caused by arthritis. It entails applying heat or ice to reduce the swelling. It reduces the inflammation, especially if the condition is not that worse, and can allow you to go on with your duties pain-free.

elderly hands with arthritis folded and resting on the lap
Give your hands a chance to rest from time to time.

7. Rest Your Hands

When you suffer from hand arthritis, you need to change your routine. You can no longer use the affected hands, fingers, or wrists to lift heavy items and engage in activities that strain the joints. However, there is a delicate balance between resting your hands and working them.

If they are inactive for long, you can lose motion, which is a harder thing to correct. The idea is to maintain action when the pain goes down and rest when it flares up.

The good thing is that you can implement some changes in your routines, such as replacing heavy kitchen items with lighter ones, to allow you to keep the fingers in motion without straining them. Even using simple devices like special scissors for arthritis can help you manage your daily pain.

8. Nutritional Supplements

Various supplements have shown good signs when used to relieve pain associated with arthritis. They include omega-3 fatty acids, Glucosamine, and SAM-e, among others. These supplements are seen to be very useful when used together with other methods listed above.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin are two of the most effective supplements since they are components of the cartilage that is hugely affected by this condition.

9. Change Your Diet

If you are suffering from arthritis, change your diet. Start eating food that fights inflammation, boosts immunity, and makes your bones stronger. While doing this might not directly impact your joint pains, it will go a long way to help ease them.

Some essential foods that you should integrate into your diet include; fish, soy, cherries, green tea, broccoli, beans, and garlic, among others.

therapist massaging a pair of arthritic hands
Hand massage can loosen tight joints and encourages blood flow to reduce inflammation.

10. Hand Massage

Therapeutic massage on your fingers can loosen tight muscles and get your blood flowing in the inflamed area. Some studies have indicated that massage can reduce pain in people who are suffering from arthritis, even if the results are mixed.

However, these natural methods can relieve this pain by a small amount, or complement the effects of other approaches such as the use of supplements and over-the-counter medications.

11. Acupuncture

In recent years, acupuncture has gained recognition as one of the effective ways to relieve arthritis pain. While scientific studies backing this method is not reliable, evidence, and testimonies from people who have tried it make it one of the expert ways you can turn to. This is particularly applicable if you had used it before, as results showed that patients receiving acupuncture felt less pain and could move their joints better.

These are just some of the expert ways to reduce pain in your hands due to arthritis. They are a collection of natural, medical, and alternative methods that all work collectively to help you function better. It is essential to seek the medical advice of a professional practitioner and let them assess the severity of your condition before choosing the best method.

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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