Arthritis is a general term for several forms of diseases that usually cause inflammation and pain in the body joints. Your hands have several joints which can be attacked in case you suffer from arthritis.
Your hands are involved in almost every task you perform therefore if the hands are injured it can affect your life. Hands are involved in activities such as cooking, cleaning, writing, typing and many other kinds of activities.
Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the forms of arthritis that usually attacks the hands. Rheumatoid arthritis commonly affects the hands and feet first. If you have rheumatoid arthritis you will experience pain in the hand’s joints which can sometimes get worse.
Hand exercise can be helpful in relieving the pain and helping in maintaining the range of motion, the strength of the hands and the flexibility.
A rheumatologist/occupational therapist or a physical therapist can help in designing a program for your hands.
Some of the several hand exercises that can be helpful in relieving arthritis pain include:
1. Exercise One
Ensure your hand and wrist are straight and in a neutral position. Bend the base of the finger joints which are connected to the palm. Make sure the end, middle joints, and wrist are straight. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and repeat the exercise on each hand twice daily.
2. Exercise Two
Ensure your hands are upright and the fingers, wrist, and thumb are pointing upwards. This is a good starting point for several other hand exercises that you can do. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds.
3. Exercise Three
Ensure your wrist and the base of the joints is straight, and then bends your middle and end joints of your fingers towards the palm. This can be done one at a time.
In every bend hold on the position for five seconds. Do this exercise on all the ten fingers of your hand twice daily.
4. Exercise Four
Start by bending each finger of your hand from the base joints downwards using your other hand to move the fingers then repeat this movement on the second row of your finger joints.
Perform the same procedure on the third row of the joints which are close to the fingers tips. In every bending hold on for ten seconds. Repeat the exercise on all the fingers twice a day.
5. Exercise Five
First ensure your hand is straight and all the fingers are pointing upwards, then bend the fingers downwards so that they touch your palm but ensure you are not making a fist instead only your fingertips should be the ones touching your palm. Hold onto this position for five seconds. Do this exercise on both hands twice a day.
6. Exercise Six
Ensure that your fingers, wrist and the thumb are pointing upwards then make an ‘O’ shape by touching your index fingers to the thumb. Hold onto this position for about 5 to 20 seconds. Repeat this exercise two to ten seconds twice every day.
7. Exercise Seven
Ensure that your hands are in a neutral position and the knuckles are straight. Slowly and gently spread the fingers as far apart as you can then from this position make a fist and hold onto each other position for five seconds. Repeat the exercise on both hands twice a day.
These exercises help you in stretching and ensuring the mobility of the hands.
You should be careful with the exercises; some exercises can do more harm than good to the hand.
Hand exercises that hurt your fingers or the general hand should be avoided. You should also try to reduce the intensity and the speed of the exercise as this can also lead to pain.
If you are not able to perform the hand exercises then it means there is a problem which needs to be checked. In some cases, this can be as a result of joint dislocation. If this is the case you should discuss the issue with your doctor.
Lifestyle changes can also be helpful in protecting your hands and wrists so as to ensure they function properly. You can protect your joints by ensuring that every morning you sock your hands in warm water this ensures that the hand stiffness is reduced.
Hand and wrist splints can also be helpful especially to patients of rheumatoid arthritis. Splints are helpful in aligning and supporting the joints.
There are specific types of splints that are meant for people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and it is advisable to talk with your doctor so that he/she can advise on the best splints for you.
Nevertheless, if the above hand exercises turn out to be futile, you might use a joint pain product such as Go-Out Plex which might provide you long-lasting relief from arthritis pain.