Arthritis Hand Pain – There Is Relief

For sufferers of arthritis, suffice to say it can be a chronic, crippling disease that has good days and bad days. Nobody deserves to live in pain, and have their quality of life determined by the weather. While arthritis can affect nearly every joint in the body, nothing can quite affect your daily life as much as arthritis hand pain. We rely on our hands for so many things, from writing, opening doors and objects, typing, dressing ourselves and numerous other activities.

The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, and is usually caused by an injury earlier in life, or simply caused by old age. Arthritis most commonly starts to onset over the age of 40, and it affects more women than men. This could be caused by lack of calcium intake by women, or could be based on a number of genetic factors.

Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the hands

When the cause of the pain is osteoarthritis, rather then rheumatoid arthritis, which is a systemic inflammatory disorder that can also affect the muscles and tendons, you will find that the joint gets worse as the day progresses, or after prolonged use. A morning shower is often enough to relieve the morning stiffness, but once the day is over, rest is often the only relief.

A diagnoses can be made by X-ray, blood tests, and often by visual inspection. In extreme cases, the joints will be so inflamed and disfigured with nodules, that the hand will barely look like a hand. The pain associated with cases like these can be unbearable.

Is it carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis?

Hand pain can be caused by a number of things, but carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis seem to be the two more common causes. For arthritis, the pain is often said to feel like a sharp ache or burning sensation. There may be fluid present in the joints, and you may even be able to hear a cracking sound when bending the fingers or thumb.

Cold winter days are no fun for arthritis sufferers

Stiffness in the joints varies from day to day and month to month. The cold, winter is the season where someone would feel more arthritis hand pain than in the summer or spring. The time of day, with morning typically being the worst, and the weather, with rainy, humid days being the worst. Stretching and physical therapy can only go so far, and it often comes to the time where arthroplasty, or more commonly known as joint replacement, is required. Replacement joints are very common for the hip and knee, but not so much for the hand, thumb or fingers.

Many individuals trying to deal with the hand pain caused by the arthritis resort to taking copious amounts of ibuprofen and naprosyn, the two most common over the counter pain relievers. This can have dire consequences, though, as most people feel OTC medicine is safe and that taking more than the recommended dose is no big deal. Not so with anti-inflammatory drugs. They can cause heart problems, gastrointestinal upset, ulcers, internal bleeding and more.

Manage the pain

Dealing with hand pain and arthritis is a lifelong struggle. It is a daily battle managing the pain and trying to find remedies and relief. Each person is different and will need to figure out for themselves what form of pain relief works best.