Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease that commonly affects the joints in the hands.
The exact cause of osteoarthritis is unknown. However, it’s clear that the condition develops due to wear and tear of the joints. Like all joints, those in the wrists and hands are protected by cartilage, which can wear down over time and lead to osteoarthritis.
The most common factors associated with osteoarthritis include aging, repetitive joint movement and trauma. It’s also more prevalent among women than men.
A 2011 study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases reports that females are more prone to symptomatic and erosive hand osteoarthritis. With an aging population, the impact of hand osteoarthritis will further increase .
Genetics can also be a factor in the development of osteoarthritis in the hands.
The condition can cause pain with movement or when at rest, joint swelling, joint stiffness, joint deformity, weakness and loss of muscle mass, and loss of joint and muscle functioning.
A 2002 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that symptomatic hand osteoarthritis is a common disease among the elderly and frequently impairs hand functioning .
The symptoms of hand arthritis differ from person to person. A lot depends on the specific joints affected. Hand arthritis is common in the wrist, basilar joint that connects your thumb and wrist, joints near the end of your fingers (DIP joints) and middle knuckles of the fingers (PIP joints).
If you are at a high risk of developing osteoarthritis of the hands or even suffering from it, there are many ways to prevent joint degeneration and control the symptoms.
Here are the top 10 ways to prevent and treat osteoarthritis in the hands.
You can use both hot and cold compresses to manage joint pain due to osteoarthritis in the hands.
The hot compress will help reduce pain and stiffness, while the cold compress will lessen swelling and inflammation.
Depending upon your condition, you can also use these compresses separately.
Massage therapy can temporarily help improve pain and stiffness that occur due to hand arthritis .
Massaging the hands is an effective way to reduce the pain and inflammation. It improves blood circulation and also encourages toxin drainage to reduce swelling.
Note: If massaging worsens the condition, stop doing it.
Doing hand exercises is a must when dealing with pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis in the hands.
Regularly performing hand exercises can help keep the supportive ligaments and tendons in the hands flexible. It will also improve blood circulation to the area and help reduce pain.
There are several hand exercises that you can try at home. Some of the exercises to alleviate arthritic pain in the hands are:
Raw, organic apple cider vinegar provides several trace nutrients to the body and also helps the body become more alkaline. This in turn reduces pain that occurs with arthritis in the hands.
In addition, it helps remove the buildup of toxins in the joints and connective tissues, which also plays a key role in reducing arthritic pain.
For topical use:
For internal use:
Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory herb that can help deal with pain and inflammation related to osteoarthritis in the hands. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is a potent antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties.
In a 2004 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, researchers found that curcumin inhibits a number of different molecules that play a role in inflammation .
A 2016 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food reports that curcumin can be a therapeutic agent for relieving arthritis .
For topical use:
For internal use:
When it comes to fighting pain and inflammation due to osteoarthritis, ginger is very effective. It helps block COX-2, a chemical in the body that causes pain.
A 2005 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food reports that ginger affects certain inflammatory processes at a cellular level. This makes it an effective treatment for arthritis and other inflammatory diseases .
Green tea has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help reduce joint pain and swelling, common symptoms of osteoarthritis. Moreover, green tea helps maintain bone density and strength.
A 2011 study published in Arthritis Research and Therapy reports that green tea helps prevent as well as control symptoms of osteoarthritis .
To deal with any kind of arthritic pain, capsaicin cream is very effective.
The compound capsaicin has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that help get rid of the pain and treat arthritis.
For topical use:
Blackstrap molasses is good for your joint and muscle health, and it can play a key role in preventing any kind of arthritis.
It contains calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, selenium and B vitamins, which are all nutrients the body needs to help fight pain and inflammation.
Blackstrap molasses also supports a proper acid-alkaline balance in the body. This is extremely beneficial for bone and joint health.
The right food can cure different diseases and arthritis in the hands is not an exception. Several foods can help fight pain and inflammation.
The right nutrition will also support healing or help slow down the progression of disease.
When suffering from arthritis, your body needs certain nutrients like calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin D and folate.
To get these nutrients, eat foods like kale, milk, cheese, sardines, lentils, almonds, quinoa, black beans, brown rice, tofu, dark chocolate, avocados, strawberries, kiwi fruit, red peppers, papaya, broccoli, vitamin D-fortified milk, cereal, salmon and tuna.
In addition to nutritious foods, a healthy diet includes plenty of liquids. Dehydration can worsen arthritic pain.
Avoid excessive amounts of sugar and processed foods, as well as keeping coffee and sodas to a minimum.
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