Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, autoimmune, progressive, and disabling disease characterized by inflammation of the joints.
The body's immune system attacks the joint capsule lining, which is a tough membrane that encloses all parts of the joints. This lining (synovium) becomes inflamed and swollen. The disease process can eventually destroy the cartilage and bone within the joint.
There are many types of arthritis; the most common is rheumatoid arthritis, which usually affects the wrist and other joints in the hand. The affectation is usually symmetrical, in both hands. It starts slowly, with initial symptoms such as mild joint pain, stiffness, and tiredness. It also affects elbows, shoulders, neck, jaw, hips, knees, ankles, and feet. However, it rarely damages the spine.
- Decreased range of motion
Treatment for arthritis depends on the type, severity, and location of the disorder, and is usually treated by:
Medications: Medications available over the counter or by prescription can reduce inflammation and pain.
Therapy: Physical therapy and exercise can improve range of motion and flexibility by improving bone and muscle strength. Other options include massage therapy, water therapy, or braces.
Surgery: Joint replacement surgery (arthroplasty) or joint fusion surgery may be the best treatment options for some patients.
Pain Relief Tips
Exercises can help keep the supporting ligaments and tendons in the hands flexible, and can also help reduce pain. To help relieve arthritic hand pain, you can try these exercises, performing them with gentle movements:
- Make a fist gently and open it to fully stretch the fingers; repeat several times with each hand.
- Slowly and carefully flex one finger, then straighten it again; repeat with all fingers.
- Put the hand on a flat surface with the fingers extended and slowly raise one finger. Hold it as high as possible for 3 to 5 seconds. Repeat with each finger.
Hot and cold therapy
Hot and cold therapy is a standard procedure for arthritis. Hot therapy treatment promotes long-term joint health. The heat helps relieve accumulated stress on the joints. Spending some time using hot compresses or baths can have a significant impact on arthritis pain relief.
For its part, cold therapy treatment aims for quick relief. The use of cold compresses helps to reduce the swelling that the joints experience after exercise or movement. Taking advantage of these two methods is an effective and natural way to prevent arthritis.
Massages and yoga
Both of these practices are great ways to keep your joints healthy. Many studies have shown that regular joint massages have had positive results when it comes to arthritis, helping to resolve joint stiffness. Yoga is a combination of many great ways to lessen arthritis. It provides an excellent low-impact shape to move your joints and keep them flexible. This discipline provides the necessary exercise to maintain healthy joints. Furthermore, yoga also has a meditative component that has been shown to be beneficial for a healthy lifestyle. These two practices are great ways to start treating arthritis pain.
Epsom salts are also a popular remedy in the treatment of any type of pain related to arthritis. These salts relax affected joints and provide relief to reduce pain, inflammation, and stiffness. In this case, it is recommended to fill a container with hot water and add 2 cups of this salt. Subsequently, the hands are soaked in the mixture for 20 minutes, and this treatment is repeated about twice a week.
More tips to prevent osteoarthritis:
- Do not carry excessive weight.
- Resort to the help of orthopedic elements to reduce joint problems.
- Avoid staying in the same body position for a long time.
- Sleep well.
- Adapt the home to the needs of the user to care for (example: handles in the bathroom).
- Prepare a balanced diet adapted to the needs of the elderly, rich in omega-3, calcium and vitamin D. Fruits, fish and vegetables are the best option.
- Do regular and moderate exercise.
- To avoid the use of tobacco.