If you suffer from osteoarthritis pain, you’re likely well aware that one of the worst places for flare-ups is in your hands. It’s not only painful, but it’s extremely frustrating and greatly lowers a person’s quality of life. It makes simple tasks like making coffee in the morning, talking on the phone, or even gripping your keys to open the door a challenging, painful, and frustrating experience.
But I’m here to help with some simple tips on how you can work to alleviate the pain in your hands and fingers by stretching and exercising them to build strength, lower inflammation, and get some blood flowing into the area.
My first tip is simply to make a fist. This is a good way to engage your hand, stretch it out, and utilize the surrounding muscles. First, open your hand as wide as possible with your fingers spread, then contract your fingers into a tight fist and hold it for 30 to 60 seconds. You should squeeze so you feel tightness, not pain. Repeat these moves four or five times with each hand.
Secondly, finger stretching is another good way to promote pain relief. Start with your hand palm-down on a flat surface and slowly straighten out your fingers until they are fully outstretched and flat against the surface. Go slow and don’t force the joints. Hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds, then release. Repeat this stretch at least four times per hand.
Finally, you can improve your grip strength by pinching and squeezing soft objects. For a grip-strengthening exercise, squeeze a soft ball as tight as you can and hold it for a few seconds before loosening, then repeat. Alternatively, you can pinch a soft ball, some foam, or another object with the tips of your fingers and your thumb, switching between pinching as hard as you can, then relaxing.
Each of these exercises can help with the performance of everyday tasks like opening doors, grabbing your keys, or carrying bags. They can improve strength and limit pain. I highly recommended you perform these stretches and exercises at least once a day if you’re suffering from osteoarthritis.
By letting your hands and fingers sit idle, the pain ultimately wins; fight back by working on your hands and fingers every day to improve functionality and limit pain.
Source for Today’s Article:
Smith, W.M., “Osteoarthritis Treatment Options,” WebMD web site, May 16, 2014; http://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/oa-treatment-options-12/slideshow-hand-finger-exercises, last accessed August 14, 2014.