10 ways to relieve sore hands

relieve sore hands
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Hand osteoarthritis can be extremely frustrating — we use our hands constantly and it can be very difficult to deal with stiffness and pain with almost every movement. “When you have osteoarthritis, one of the main management strategies to adopt is to protect the joint. It is necessary to avoid exposing the joints to excessive efforts. That’s why we show people how to use their hands properly, says Ilene Cohen-Ackerman, clinical practice leader and occupational therapist with The Arthritis Society. It’s not about sitting around and doing nothing or enduring the pain. Rather, the approach we advocate is one that encourages changes to the way we use our hands so that we can continue to do the things we enjoy without putting pressure on our joints. Joint protection strategies can actually promote better function and increase independence. » Consider the following approaches to help manage your hand osteoarthritis.

Apply heat

“When you wake up in the morning feeling like the tin woodcutter, take a shower and you’ll feel reborn,” says Ilene. The heat relaxes muscles and improves blood circulation, which in turn helps relieve stiffness and pain. You can also rub your hands with massage oil or regular cooking oil and put on a pair of rubber gloves so that you can soak your hands in hot water without damaging your skin.

Use assistive devices and accessories

Wearing compression gloves, sold at health care stores, helps support the joints in the hand and can reduce pain during the night or day. You can also use a stiffer splint or brace: Ilene Cohen-Ackerman tells us that people with acute thumb pain, for example, may find stiff splints very helpful in controlling hand pain. Another way to help the hands is to use assistive devices such as a book holder, playing card holder, key extension, or kitchen or gardening tools. An occupational therapist can help you find the perfect fit for your knee brace and choose an appropriate assistive device.

Go at your own pace

Break down your activities. “Garden for half an hour, take a break and continue only if you feel good. You can also stretch your gardening sessions over a period of a week rather than doing it all in one day,” suggests Ilene. If you’re doing something you enjoy like knitting, painting, or woodworking and you can’t see the time ticking away, set a timer to remind you to take a break. Other approaches to adopt are to use both hands to lift objects and to vary your activities so that you do not repeat the same movements often.

Use your large joints

Look for ways to reduce stress on your hands. Use the hip to close a door or a drawer, for example. Opt for a shoulder bag, do not carry change or other heavy objects in your purse or bag. Push or pull things instead of carrying them: Use a rolling grocery cart instead of carrying bags.

Enter objects differently

Try to have an “O” or “C” grip in as many everyday activities as possible, like when you’re sliding a zipper or unscrewing a jar. For what? A grip in which your fingers are curled puts less pressure on your joints than a pinched grip. This puts a lot of strain on your thumb and fingers.

Perform range of motion exercises

Simple sets of hand exercises done regularly — like spreading your fingers, making a fist, bending your wrist — can help you maintain and even increase your range of motion. See an occupational therapist for an assessment and recommendations.

Living with arthritis-related hand pain and stiffness can be difficult, but remember that there are ways to manage this discomfort. “For every activity that pain makes difficult, there is a solution,” says Ilene Cohen-Ackerman.

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