Hand pain can be really annoying. It weakens your hand, thus diminishing your ability to carry out simple tasks like opening a door.
A common cause of hand pain is osteoarthritis. This occurs when the shock-absorbing cartilage between bones in the finger joints and at the base of the thumb become worn or damaged. Underlying nerve conditions can also cause hand pain. When this happens, you may feel a painful tingling sensation when there is pressure on the median nerve in the wrist or in the ulnar nerve near the elbow. Sometimes, hand pain results from tendinitis, an inflammation of the tissue that attaches muscles to the bones.
Whatever the cause is, you can try some of the easy home remedies described below. Be sure to get your hand checked by a doctor first and consult with them on whether these treatments are compatible for your condition.
Use contrasting cold and hot therapy
Everyone has access to heat or ice, making hot and cold therapy the most convenient natural solution to people suffering from inflamed hands. You can run a bath or use hot or cold gel packs when applying hot and cold therapy. Switching between heat and cold is an effective way of relieving hand pain (depending on the nature of your hand pain).
Add turmeric to your foods
Turmeric is known to have anti-inflammatory properties which is effective in relieving hand pain. You can try mixing turmeric powder into a smoothie or simply take a turmeric supplement.
Drink some green tea
Drinking three to four cups of green tea each day is highly effective at combating arthritis pain. Green tea is packed with polyphenols, antioxidants which reduce inflammation and slow down cartilage destruction.
Drop the weights and hit the pool
While it is not advisable to do weight lifting and push-ups with an aching hand, you can still get active and try other workouts that can help with your pain. Swimming, for example, is a low-impact resistance training that utilizes the whole body. It’s a calming way to boost your health and alleviate pain.
Complement your diet with anti-inflammatory supplements
Adding anti-inflammatory supplements to your diet may help alleviate your hand pain. Fish oil or krill oil are rich in omega 3 fatty acids that help fight against inflammation. Vitamin C, vitamin D and glucosamine-chondroitin are also very useful.
Wash the dishes
While it may seem like this would hurt your hands even more, it does just the opposite. Washing the dishes lets your hands stay under hot water and gives them a healthy dose of stretching and exercise. This combination helps to loosen up your hands and alleviate pain.
Find activities that reduce stress
Studies show that listening to your favorite feel-good music is able to dull and alleviate your pain. Music helps reduce pain by activating sensory pathways that compete with pain pathways, stimulating emotional responses and engaging cognitive attention.
You can also reduce stress by placing pleasant scents throughout your home. Lavender, for example, is very calming, and experts agree that pleasant smells can alter how we perceive pain.
Change your diet
Foods that are high in trans fat and sugar can cause inflammation, which lead to the pain you’re feeling. Try a diet that is based on vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and lean proteins. Tomatoes, olive oil, leafy vegetables, nuts and fatty fish like salmon and tuna are all known to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Consider using some aloe vera
Aloe vera is one of the most commonly used herbs in alternative medicine. It’s available in many forms, such as pills, powder, gels and in its raw leaf form.
Aloe vera is used for treating small skin abrasions such as sunburns, but it may also help with joint pain due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It also doesn’t have the negative gastrointestinal effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), commonly used for arthritis pain.
It may also lower glucose levels and interact with some diabetes medications.
When to seek medical intervention
When you still experience swelling of your hands for more than a week, or if your hands become swollen after an injury, we recommend consulting a doctor immediately. Below are some ways you can medically treat your hands.
A splint stabilizes the position of your fingers, thumb or wrist. “Wear a splint for a few weeks if arthritis flares, so the inflammation can settle down,” says Dr. Philip Blazar, an orthopedic surgeon and associate professor at Harvard Medical School.
An injection of a corticosteroid into a joint can reduce inflammation. The relief it provides can last up to a year. For some people, the amount of relief diminishes with subsequent injections.
A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) helps relieve hand pain by blocking enzymes that produce pain and swelling, but it’s not effective for carpal tunnel syndrome. Long-term use of oral NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) are linked to ulcers, stomach bleeding, liver damage and increased risk of heart attacks. Topical NSAIDs, such as diclofenac (Voltaren), may pose less risk.
It can also be helpful to do a couple of exercises and stretches that focus on your hand’s tendons and muscles. A physical therapist or occupational therapist can guide you through exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles, which can help absorb the stress on joints in the hand and reduce pain.
Got a question or anything I can help with? My name is Steve Stretton, and I’m the owner and manager at Gelpacks.com. You can drop me a line here. Good luck!