Wednesday, May 17, 2017

5 Hand Exercises To Aid Arthritis Pain

The human hand is a magnificent work of biological design - with 27 bones strong and loads of connective tendons, ligaments, and joints, hands are the first point of contact for you and the world around you. Hands allow you your sense of touch, help you communicate, and afford you the capabilities few other animals have.

As you age, natural wear and tear can degrade your body’s joints and connective tissues, you can lose bone density, and even experience growing weakness in pinch and grip strength. While some age-related degeneration is normal, diseases like arthritis, the inflammation of one or more joints, can amplify hand weakness and even result in acute pain. Stiff, painful joints might prevent you from doing the things you love or even completing simple tasks in your day to day life.

The bad news? According to the Arthritis Foundation, 1 in 5 Americans over 18 experience doctor-diagnosed arthritis, that’s about 50 million people. Arthritis doesn’t discriminate based on age, sex, or race either - even kids and babies can be afflicted with some type of arthritis.

Time for some good news. There are noninvasive and nonsurgical routes towards pain relief that can aid arthritis sufferers and boost their quality of life. In addition to topical aids, hand splints, gloves for arthritis, ease-of-use tools, and diet modifications, exercise and physical therapy can alleviate some arthritis pain and target joint inflammation naturally. These 5 hand exercises are a good place to start:

Finger Bends

Holding your right hand out in front of you with fingers spread, bend one finger at a time towards your palm and hold for a few seconds. Release and repeat with every other finger including your thumb. Switch and do the same thing with your left hand. Repeat daily.

Table Wave
Make a fist and rest it on a flat surface, like a table, in front of you, pinky side down. Raise your thumb so its point of vertically, and then with all four fingers unroll your fist to straighten your fingers out completely, hold for a few seconds, and then bring them back in (like a flag waving). Repeat 10 times and then try with the other hand.

Finger Lifts

Place one hand palm down flat on the table. Lift one finger at a time up towards the ceiling, keeping the rest flat on the table - hold each lift for a few seconds and then repeat with the other hand.

Simple Fist

This one is easy - make a fist with your hand. Don’t squeeze too hard, but make sure it is tight with your thumb wrapped over your fingers. Hold the fist for 30 to 60 seconds and then release fully, spreading your fingers wide. Complete the exercise with the opposite hand and repeat 4 times.

Claw Stretch

Hold your hand out in front of you with the palm facing you. Bend all your fingertips and thumb down at once so they are touching the base of the finger joints and mimic a little bear claw. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds and then repeat with the other hand. Do this exercise four times a day.

In addition to boosting blood flow to inflamed joints in the hand and wrist, hand exercises can help increase range of motion, strengthen the muscles that control the fingers and hand, as well as improve grip and pinch strength. All those improvements add up to pain relief and a higher quality of life when living with arthritis.

This is a guest blog posting.

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