Have you noticed that you’ve been having difficulties in playing the guitar or using a kitchen aid hand mixer? Have you been feeling pain and stiffness in your hands? One of the possible reasons can be arthritis of the hands. But don’t panic just yet. With the aid of a doctor and some treatment, getting back to your normal life is possible.
Arthritis is a disease involving the cartilage of bone joints. It can be caused by a lot of factors, including trauma and heredity. While there are so many types of the disease, the most common is osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis. It’s related to aging and the normal wear and tear of cartilages.
Other than the hands, the disease usually occurs in large weight-bearing joints. Such may include the knees, hips, back, and shoulders. Hand arthritis often results to pain and inflammation. Because of these, hand use and movement becomes very limited. It’s not uncommon to hear grinding or clicking sound when moving the fingers. Bony knobs may also appear in the end and middle finger joints.
Physical examination and medical history taking will be done by a specialist to diagnose the disease. Structural changes within the hands may be revealed by getting an x-ray. Sometimes blood testing is necessary, if the specialist suspects rheumatoid arthritis, a kind of autoimmune disease. Treatment and management will have to depend on the findings.
There are topical arthritis creams for relieving the common signs and symptoms. Your doctor may also prescribe oral Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, or NSAIDs, for pain and inflammation. However, there are also those which are administered through injections. Splints are sometimes applied to provide a stable resting position for the hands. But in extreme cases, surgery may have to be performed.
Creams or liniments may be applied topically for mild pain attacks. Applying a cold compress works wonderfully too. Performing certain hand exercises can also be very effective. They include making a tight fist, spreading your fingers apart and placing each of your fingertips on the thumb. If your job involves using a keyboard, flipping switches under a device’s custom LCD, or anything similar, such practices can be beneficial.