Day to Day Modifications
Osteoarthritis symptoms vary in intensity from individual to individual. Dull, aching pain in the wrists and fingers is most often the first sign that something isn’t feeling quite right.
You may have found yourself making small accommodations for your osteoarthritis pain and stiffness throughout the day without even being aware of it. Working with an occupational therapist will provide you with specific ways to help you get through the day more comfortably.
Also, you may even be prescribed this therapy from your orthopedist for a short time with the goal of improving mobility. Even small changes throughout the day can really add up to reducing painful symptoms.
For your home
- Ask for prescriptions to be filled in easy to remove tops.
- Use a tool to open jars like a grip pad or jar opener.
- Use a dishwasher if possible; if not, soak dishes to reduce scrubbing.
- When driving, relax your hands on the wheel and stretch them at stops.
For your job
- Switch out a traditional keyboard for an ergonomic one. If that is causing too much pain, see if you can switch to using dictation technology to cut down time you physically type.
- If you use your hands for larger tasks, consider trying compression gloves to support your hands while you work and be sure to stretch and rest your hands whenever you find a chance.
- Be sure to communicate your condition to your employer if you need more support to do your job safely.
Natural Remedies for Arthritis in the Hands
Your orthopedist or rheumatologist may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication and/or pain relief medication to manage your osteoarthritis symptoms.
Be very careful to keep track of what medications you’re taking and what risk factors or combinations are possible. Your pharmacist can answer any questions, and there are apps like MediSafe that can help you stay informed.
If you decide the side effects are not worth it for you, or you are unable to take any prescription medication for whatever reason, there are numerous natural paths you can explore to see what works for you. You can also join an OA forum or community group where you can share your ideas and learn from people close to home.
Natural Remedies for Osteoarthritis of the Hands
- Yoga: the gentle stretching and calm practice of yoga help improve OA symptoms and overall mood without being time-consuming or expensive. You can grab a mat for about $20 and stream videos online to get started. Practicing in a group also helps to keep you social, since chronic pain can keep your home more often than you’d like.
- Acupuncture: there have been numerous connections between osteoarthritis symptoms and relief from acupuncture. The needles are very thin and the process can be relaxing for many people; however, it is not for everyone. It’s worth exploring at least once to see how you feel.
- Hot and cold therapy: applying heating pads or warming a towel can help alleviate OA symptoms. I find heat therapy at the end of the day to be especially helpful on sore joints. Compression gloves add warmth as well as support. Cold therapy works best for me after working out to soothe sore muscles.
- Natural oils: stress adds to any kind of chronic condition, so anything you do to relieve stress is going to help. Diffuser oils can often improve mood and sleep quality, with some reducing anxiety as well. Even a couple of drops into an Epsom salt bath can relax tired muscles and sore joints.
- Supplements: consult with your personal physician for information before taking supplements. You want to be sure you’re taking what your body needs, and you need to be certain they don’t interact negatively with other medication you’re currently taking.
Next page: prescription medication and surgery options for arthritis in the hands, and more.