The most common places where someone can experience symptoms of arthritis are the hands.
As the arthritis cushions the joints and wears away at the cartilage, it is very likely to cause stiffness, pain and inflammation as well. Simple exercises or tasks, such as twisting a doorknob, gripping utensil or using a keyboard may become very difficult and painful, in some cases even impossible.
There are some medications that can tread arthritis, if you visit a doctor he will probably prescribe you some anti-inflammatory treatments or pain medications that will only soothe the symptoms of the condition. Steroid injections can be prescribed in some cases too. And if the arthritis is resistant to most of the treatments there are surgical repairs as well.
Hand Exercises for Arthritis Relief
Before you rush to take some medication prescribed from the doctors, or even a surgery, take a look at these simple exercises that you can try at home, and are quite effective in relieving the stiffness and the pain of arthritic hands. Even if you are taking some prescribed medicine, you can still try these exercises, because they are quite simple and easy to do. Doing these exercises will ease and flex your joints in your hands, and you can preform them anywhere you want.
Place your hand in a handshaking position, then slowly stat to bend your thumb towards the floor, bend it down until it touches the inside of your palm, and keep the other fingers straight. Hold it like that for about 10 seconds, and then straighten it slowly. Then you can do this with every finger, and repeat the exercise on the other hand as well.
Making a Fist
Just like in the first exercise, put your arm in a handshake position, you don’t need to keep your arm extended that much though. Then slowly form a punch with your arm, by bending your fingers towards the inside, and keep your thumb on the outside. It is very important that you don’t use any force, be gentle and slow, strength is unnecessary. Once you have formed a fist, open your hand slowly and straighten your fingers. Repeat this 10 times, and then do it with the other hand as well.
This one is also known as the “O” exercise. Start by holding your hand up straight as you are about to give a high-five, and keep your fingers apart from each other, spread. Then you can slowly start to bend them until they all touch. The position they will form should form an “O” or a claw. Hold it for about 10 seconds and then straighten them again. Do this exercise for a few times on daily basis, with each hand. This exercise will also relieve from he stiffness and the soreness.
This exercise is very similar to the finger bending exercise, it starts with the handshake position and simply bending your thumb. But instead of bending it to touch the inside of your palm, you should aim to touch the base of the pinky finger. If you can’t, do not force your self to touch it, just go as far as you can. Hold that position for about 10 seconds and then release gently and slow. Do this 10 times with each hand.
Put your hand on the table, flat, fingers spread with palm down. Keep all fingers touching the table, and only lifting the thumb higher as possible. Hold that position for a few seconds and then you can it with all of the fingers. This goes for the other hand as well.
Also it starts with the handshake position, but put the side of your hand to rest on a surface that is flat, that way your thumb should be facing upwards. Keep your thumb pointing straight as much as you can, while you gently fold your fingers towards the inside of your palm. The final pose should be a “thumbs up” pose. Hold that position for about 10 seconds and then you can release. Do this with the other hand as well.
The arthritis that is in your hands is not limited only to your fingers. It can also affect your wrists, and this exercise is just for that. Hold one of your arms straight with loose wrist, your palms should be pointing to the ground. Then slowly start to push with your palm towards your chest. Keep pushing until you feel a slight stretch in your arm and wrist. Hold that position once you feel the stretch for about 10 seconds, release and do it with the other hand as well.
Other Home Remedies
These exercises are very useful, they will relieve from the pain and the stiffness, and your joints will bee loosened up. But besides these simple exercises, there are some home remedies that you can also try out. But remember that it is always better to consult with a specialist or your doctor first, before you start to use any home remedy:
The ginger contains strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and combining it with cinnamon or honey will loosen your muscles and relax them, which will relieve the stiffness. Using any kind of tea will provide an easing and soothing effect in case of arthritic hands. Put ginger in a cup of boiling water, boil it for 10 minutes or so, than strain it and drink the tea at least 3 times on daily basis. For the Cinnamon and the Honey, you can mix them together and add them into your tea, drink the tea on an empty stomach when you get up.
2. Ice Pack
Ice can be helpful for relieving from arthritic hands, as it is for many forms of swelling and inflammation. You can use ice cubes in a Ziploc bag, a sack of frozen vegetables or meat, or you can use an ice pack. When you are doing this technique, you should only place the ice pack directly on only 2 joints at a time, for several minutes. Then remove the ice pack for half a minute and put it back on. Do this for about 20 minutes, and a couple of times on daily basis. Remember that you will need a cloth or a towel when the ice pack or the bag of ice cubes start to melt, and also to prevent from frostbite on your skin.
The turmeric, just like the ginger has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that are very strong, which make it a perfect ingredient for arthritic hands. Well, the only difference between these two is that you don’t make tea with the turmeric, but you add a teaspoon of it in a hot glass of milk (honey -- optional) and drink this once on daily basis. There is another option where you can add a single teaspoon of turmeric in 1/4 cup of water and boil it for about 10 minutes. Then let the mixture cool down and drink it also once a day.
4. Epsom Salts
One of the most common side effects of arthritis is the bone demineralization. Epsom salts are very high in magnesium, which is important for bone mineralization and lessens the nerve pain as well. Which is why you want to add 2 cups of Epsom salts into your warm bath, and then you can soak your hands inside for about half an hour. Keep this up for a few weeks for the effect to be provided.
If you want to enjoy the great anti-inflammatory properties and effects which are provided due to its richness in selenium and sulfur of garlic, you don’t have to eat it. You can simply fry two tablespoons of mustard oil with 2 chopped cloves of garlic. Then you can remove them from heat and let them cool a bit. Then topically apply the garlic on the affected areas or joints, and you can gently massage them. Do this a few times on daily basis.