Swollen joints, stiff fingers, a dull throbbing ache, if this describes your hands you are one of the millions of Americans living with arthritic hand pain. You are not alone, according to Reuters an estimated 40% of people will experience arthritis in their hands at some point in their life. While the level of pain experienced by sufferers varies depending on the level and type of damage, most will experience some level of pain associated with their arthritis. Ranging from a dull throbbing ache to sharp and insistent, hand pain can drastically impact your ability to do many everyday tasks, from dressing and grooming to typing and physical labor. Finding remedies to soothe arthritis pain may improve not only the outlook of sufferers but also their ability to perform everyday tasks. The following 11 remedies are proven to help soothe cranky hands.
1. A hot beverage- A great way to start soothing that morning pain and stiffness is by wrapping your hands around your favorite hot beverage. Coffee, tea, hot cocoa, it doesn’t really matter what you choose to put in the cup as long as it’s warm and toasty. Wrap your hands around that mug and let the heat seep in and soothe your aching joints. For double joint soothing action, fill that mug with green tea, a proven anti-inflammatory.
2. Hand spa- Available in a variety of shapes and sizes, a paraffin (aka wax) hand spa is a great thing to have. Dip hands in warm wax and then wrap in a plastic bag for the maximum benefit. Adding soothing peppermint oil is a great way to increase the pain-relieving power of this toasty remedy.
3. Ease Muscle and Joint Oil- Hands down my favorite topical pain reliever, this powerful herbal remedy from Sage Moon Apothecary smells as good as it works! If you are sick of mentholated and medicated smelling creams, this is for you. Pop over to her shop and check it out, you will not be disappointed.
4. Hot water- Soaking your hands in hot water with Epsom salt is a great way to soothe the aches while getting some magnesium, an essential mineral for bone health. Washing dishes is also a great way to ease the aches and loosen up those stiff joints. Just save the heavy stuff for after you’ve loosened up, or even better, get someone else to handle the heavy lifting when your hands are cranky.
5. Movement- Not the most popular answer but certainly a fact, movement helps to ease arthritis pain. Studies have proven that moving decreases inflammation, improves blood flow, and releases gasses that build up in joints. This can go a long way toward easing arthritis pain. Low impact targeted stretching and exercise is also an essential part of slowing many types of arthritic damage.
6. Triflora arthritis gel- This topical remedy uses plant power to relieve arthritis symptoms. It reduces swelling from inflammation and eliminates stiffness. With poison ivy as one of the primary ingredients, it is recommended that it be tested on a small patch of skin before applying to a large area. Some people are very sensitive to poison ivy and will not be able to use this one. (I was pleasantly surprised to find my generally sensitive skin had no reaction.)
7. Cannabis- Best known for its ability to increase appetite and prevent seizures, cannabis is also a wonderful remedy for pain and inflammation. Whether taken internally as an edible or tincture, or used topically as an oil or cream, the pain relief benefits of cannabis are excellent. If you are lucky enough to live somewhere that it is legal, ask your medical professional or a cannabis caregiver for information on using cannabis for pain relief.
8. Occupational or physical therapy should be part of the plan of care for anyone suffering with arthritis. Trained physicians can teach patients how to change the way they do everyday things to protect affected joints. They can also prescribe targeted exercises to strengthen joints, improve mobility, and increase flexibility. Using a variety of tools and techniques, and a great working knowledge of the mechanics of the human body, a competent physical therapist can greatly reduce arthritis pain and increase patient quality of life. Ask your doctor for referral for physical therapy.
9. Massage- Massage is a great way to relieve many types of pain. Not surprising, it can be helpful in relieving arthritis pain too. While it will not stop joint pain itself, it can help to soothe muscles and tendons that are sore because of the pressure caused by inflamed joints. Massage can release the strain and stress arthritis creates. It can help to both reduce pain and increase mobility.
10. Anti-inflammatory medications- There are many over the counter anti-inflammatory medications on the market. Aleve, ibuprofen, and Naproxen all work to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Ask your doctor which of these remedies is most appropriate for you on your current medications.
11. Anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements- Many herbs, supplements and foods have been shown to help reduce inflammation. Turmeric, green tea, cherries, pineapple, and blueberries are just a few of the many plant-based options for fighting inflammation. Also available, are a variety of traditional Ayurvedic herbal remedies for inflammation such as Boswellia and Ashwagandha. Determining which of these foods or plants will work for you takes a bit of trial and error. The experience of a well-educated herbalist or nutritionist can be very helpful in determining which remedies might be best for you. Keep in mind, that even though these treatments are natural, drug interactions can occur when using herbal or food remedies. It is always a good idea to talk with your doctor before making changes in the things you’re putting into your body.
Arthritic hands might be an unavoidable part of life for many of us, nearly half in fact, but it doesn’t have to rule our worlds. Using a variety of medical and natural remedies, you can enjoy increased mobility and reduced pain. What do you use to soothe aching joints when arthritis pain rears its ugly head?