Painful Hands: The Cause
When dealing with hand pain, arthritis is often the cause. It wears away at the cartilage of a joint (the cushioning material between bones). Consequently, this can cause inflammation and irritation of the synovial lining, which produces the synovial fluid that helps protect and lubricate the joint. The pain can get worse, particularly when used frequently for repetitive tasks, such as typing on a computer keyboard, or gripping kitchen utensils. Strength in your hands may also be diminished, making them weak, which consequently can make it hard to perform even the simplest of tasks.
Treating Hand Pain
Medicinal options are available for treating hand arthritis, such as taking pain-relieving medicines orally. Injections and steroid medicines, which decrease swelling in the joints, can also support and protect your hands. If a joint is actually damaged, surgery may be your best option. However, regardless of whether you have arthritis in your hands or not, one easy and non-invasive way to keep your hands pain-free is to do hand exercises to increase flexibility in the joints and improve their range of motion. Exercising your wrists, palms and fingers will help strengthen the muscles that support the hand joints, enabling you to perform hand movements with less discomfort. Exercise will also help keep ligaments and tendons flexible, as well as increase the production of synovial fluid, improving joint function.
7 Exercises to Alleviate Hand Pain
Exercise 1: Make a Fist
Here's How: This easy exercise can be done anywhere and any time your hand feels stiff. Hold your hand out straight and slowly bend it into a gentle fist, placing your thumb on the outside of your hand. Do not squeeze your hand tightly. Repeat the exercise 10 times, then repeat the whole sequence with the opposite hand.
Exercise 2: Finger Bends
Here's How: Hold your hand up straight. Bend your thumb down toward your palm, hold it for a couple of seconds, then straighten it back up. Bend your index finger toward your palm, hold it for a couple of seconds and release back into its neutral position. Repeat the process with each finger on your hand, then repeat the entire sequence on your opposite hand.
Exercise 3: Thumb Bend
Here's How: Hold your hand out straight. Bend your thumb inward toward your palm. Stretch out your thumb, as much as you can, toward the bottom of your pinky finger. Hold this position for a couple of seconds and return your thumb to the starting position. Repeat 10 times, then repeat the exercise on your right hand.
Exercise 4: Make an 'O'
Here's How: Start with your hand in the starting position (straight out). Then, curve all of your fingers, forming an 'O' shape. Hold for a couple of seconds, then straighten your fingers out again. Repeat the exercise a couple of times on each hand, and whenever it feels achy or stiff.
Exercise 5: Table Bend
Here's How: Place the side of your hand (the pinky finger) on a table, pointing your thumb upward. Bend the other four fingers until your hand makes an 'L' shape. Hold the position for a couple of seconds, then straighten your fingers, moving them back into the starting position. Repeat for a total of 10 times, and repeat the sequence on the opposite hand.
Exercise 6: Finger Lift
Here's How: Place your left hand, palm down, on a flat surface. Lift your thumb slowly off the table, holding for a couple of seconds, then lower. Repeat this process with each finger, then repeat the entire sequence on your opposite hand.
Exercise 7: Wrist Stretch
Here's How: Exercising your wrists is just as important, because arthritis tends to make them sore and stiff. Hold your right arm out in front of you, palm facing down. With your left hand, press down on your right one as indicated in the image, until you feel a stretch in your wrist and arm. Hold the position for a couple of seconds and repeat the process 10 times. Once done, repeat the entire sequence on your opposite hand.