Do your fingers crack and hurt? Maybe your joints feel decrepit, your hand’s ache and your knuckles fail to function as they should?
If your answer is a resounding ‘yes’, you may have one of the numerous types of arthritis that can affect the hands. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 26% of women and 19.1% of men live with a doctor-diagnosed arthritic condition. Although research indicates rates of hand osteoarthritis may be as high as 34.6% in women and 33.7% in men.
Arthritis often negatively impacts the smaller joints of the upper limb. If you struggle, too, you are not alone.
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are two leading causes of hand arthritis, with psoriatic arthritis, lupus, gout, pseudogout and ankylosing spondylitis all able to strike the upper extremity, too.
Hand arthritis can be devastating; we don’t always realize how often we use our hands until it hurts to do just that. Without proper care, the repercussions can seriously affect your quality of life. The good news is that it doesn’t have to. There are safe, potent and natural therapeutic options available.
In a moment, we’ll share evidence-based ways to calm pain and improve function. Now, though, it’s important to understand hand arthritis in a little more detail.
- 1 What is Arthritis of the Hands?
- 2 5 Hand Exercises to Relieve Arthritis
- 3 Natural Topicals Offer Pain Relief, Safely
What is Arthritis of the Hands?
While different forms of arthritis can have discreet and unique consequences, the similarities are important…
Articular cartilage — the cartilage of our moveable joints — is an incredible substance that is tough and flexible. It lines our connecting bones and provides a lubricated, smooth surface that enables fluid, painless motion. Unfortunately, this cartilage lacks the blood vessels that, in other areas of our body, deliver nutrients and remove waste. This makes it prone to damage and slow to repair. Cartilage can become damaged through overuse, injury, aging, or illness.
Synovial Lining Changes
The synovium is the soft tissue that lines the spaces within our movable joints, bursae and tendon sheaths. This lining provides the only blood vessels that lie within our joints, allowing an avenue for much-needed cartilage nutrition. By producing fluid, the synovial lining also provides the lubrication that cartilage surfaces need to do their job.
However, in arthritis, the synovial lining thickens, inflammation ramps up and cells rush in to try and repair the damage. This often contributes to further physical harm.
What does this mean?
Imagine: You’re out in your old Mustang enjoying a beautiful day. The boulevard opens up, the country air fills your lungs, the silky road propels your vehicle seamlessly along on its way… Until BANG! You hit a pothole and compress your suspension. Healthy cartilage is the sleek road. Arthritis is the pothole.
The trouble is this…
Joints form an integral part of what it is to be a mobile human. In the case of our dear old Mustang, we could choose a less bumpy road. However, when the road is instead the lining of your joints, those we continue to ‘push traffic along’ by simply using them, it is a difficult proposition. We can’t ignore that painfully bumpy road, we need to aid healing and encourage recovery.
The Common Signs and Symptoms of Arthritis of the Hands
Common signs and symptoms associated with hand arthritis include:
- Creaky joints (crepitation)
- Increased joint laxity
- Physical deformity
5 Hand Exercises to Relieve Arthritis
We use our hands almost every waking moment. Dexterity and a base level of strength are required for self-care and daily life, not to mention joyful pursuits like painting, dancing, crossword puzzle completion and, our fav, sipping a therapeutic cup of tea.
While you may feel like you have gnarled stiff knots instead of easy moving fingers, hand exercises can make a wonderful difference. Let’s take a look at five options that may provide ligament and tendon support, improve hand flexibility and reduce pain.
1) Opening and Closing Your Fist
- Begin with an open hand and straight fingers
- Gently close into a fist, keeping your thumb on the outside to avoid unnecessary pressure on this joint
- Release and again straighten each finger
- Perform 10 times on the left
- Repeat on the right
2) Finger Stretches
Place your hand with your palm comfortably facing upward. One by one, raise each finger slowly toward the center of your palm. Hold for a moment, straighten, and then repeat with the next digit.
3) Claw Stretch
With your palm again facing you, bend your fingers and see if you can touch the tips to the bases of your fingers joints. This should resemble a claw and gives this exercise its name. Hold for up to a minute and repeat four to six times.
4) Grip & Pinch
- Hold a soft exercise ball in your palm
- Squeeze for two to three seconds, then release
- Repeat approximately 12 times
Like any resistance training exercise, this can build muscle strength and tone. Do not perform this exercise more than every other day.
5) Finger Lifts
- Lay your hand on a table, palm down
- Raise one finger gently from the table
- Slowly return to its beginning position and repeat with the next digit
- Perform eight to 12 times
Natural Topicals Offer Pain Relief, Safely
There is a range of ointments and creams that offer incredible pain relief, naturally and safely. Premium products that incorporate evidence-based ingredients like menthol and camphor are well loved for their soothing properties. As an added benefit, they are gentle and avoid the potentially harmful side effects that commonly occur with pharmaceutical pain relief options. CBDMEDIC™ offers an established professional topicals formulated to reduce the pain and suffering that accompany arthritis.
While it may feel like you are destined to suffer from the signs and symptoms of arthritic hands, with the right exercises and pain-relieving products respite and healing are absolutely attainable. So is a better life.