Arthritis is really an umbrella term that encompasses hundreds of inflammatory disorders, but the name points to one simple truth: pain. Arthritis can attack you in any joint, but when it occurs in your hands and wrists, simply completing daily tasks becomes a real challenge. Although your condition cannot be cured, you do have a number of treatment options.
Physical and occupational therapy can be extremely beneficial for those suffering from hand arthritis. As time goes on, even washing the dishes or fixing your hair can become too difficult and painful. A therapist can help you regain range-of-motion as well as teach you ways to accomplish more daily tasks. You can also do exercises at home, such as gently making a fist and opening and closing your hand ten times. When your hand feels stiff, you can also work at forming an "O" with your thumb and fingers. Another helpful exercise is the wrist stretch. You simply extend your right arm, and with the left hand, press down gently on the right hand until you feel it stretch. You should hold it for a second or two and then release it. Try working up to ten times on each hand.
You will probably need pain medication, but you should consult with your physician before starting any pain relief regimen. OTC medications such as NSAIDs can help ease the inflammation as well as the discomfort you experience. You can also use a number of analgesics in pill and cream form. In more severe cases, your doctor may prescribe corticosteroids to better fight the inflammation in your joints. You may also receive a shot in the painful area. You should regularly consult with your physician about pain control. Your condition may change or other medications may become available.
If pain relief and therapy methods do not work, your physician may recommend surgery. These operations include joint fusion and joint replacement, both procedures that can relieve pain and/or improve hand function. One of the more common procedures involves reconstructing the thumb joint by removing damaged bone and replacing it with a tendon. These surgeries are often followed by occupational therapy.
Hand arthritis is especially cruel because it affects almost everything you do on a daily basis. You can get help with managing the pain and stiffness from medical professionals as well as your own efforts. Don't just accept your arthritis, seek help to make your condition more bearable. Contact a business, such as Wright Physical Therepy, for more information.