Arthritis is a painful condition that causes inflammation in the joints. Around ten million people are affected in the UK of all ages. Some people have a couple of joints affected and some people have it in multiple joints all over their body. I am one of those lucky souls that has it in pretty much most of my joints!
Now the cold is creeping in, I am sure many people have been experiencing their joints reacting to the weather. I don’t find the cold necessarily makes mine worse, but the pain is different.
I have decided to share this video of me demonstrating some hand exercises that you can try. These will help reduce stiffness and pain if done regularly. When you have arthritis in your hands it is very easy for them to curl up and get stuck in that position (called gnarled) which you want to avoid as best you can, so doing these exercises three times a day will help with that. Exercises can be painful but you do need to push yourself a little to try them if you can. If you can only manage them once a day, that is better than nothing, but the more regular the better.
Watch the videos parts one and part two here
Some other hints and tips I would suggest include:
- Keeping your hands warm when you are out. Gloves are a must!
- Playdough is another great tool for exercising your hands. Stretch it, roll it and squeeze it to give your hands a workout
- Pocket hand warmers are great for inside and outside. I have the ones which you warm in the microwave (they smell like lavender too) and use them when my hands are aching. If your joints get hot when swollen, use an ice pack wrapped in a towel on them to help ease them. I have a bag of frozen peas which I have written over (so nobody eats them by mistake) and use these on my joints as needed. I find peas the best as they are easier to mould around my joints.
- A good massage is also well received. Either done by yourself, whether you ask someone to do it for you or pop to the salon and treat yourself to a manicure, a little bit of pampering helps no end. Just warn the person doing it you have arthritis so they don’t apply too much pressure. I have always found beauty therapists amazingly accommodating for this.
- A warm bath helps relax all your joints but make sure that you submerge your hands for a little bit so they benefit from the warm water too
- Castanets are a great option for kids to help exercise their hands without them realising. I used to have a pair that I would play with and sing along to when I was little – all the time not knowing I was doing exercises at the same time
So there are my hand exercises and my hints and tips to help when the arthritis in your hands is playing up. Do you have any others? Please pop them in the comments section below so I can see them!