Pain Relief for Arthritis in the Hands

Updated July 19, 2017

Arthritis is a painful, often debilitating, disease that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, affects nearly one in five Americans, or 46 million people. Arthritis in the hands often causes pain, swelling, stiffness and decreased mobility, all of which prevent many people with arthritic hands from accomplishing daily tasks or enjoying once-loved activities. There are several types of treatment for arthritis in the hands.

Prescription Medications

Some of the prescription drugs prescribed for those with arthritis in the hands include NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), narcotics (codeine, oxycodone) and non-narcotic analgesics.

Non-Prescription Medications

There are several types of over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatories available for those with arthritis in the hands, including Tylenol, Advil, Motrin and Aleve. OTCs generally provide temporary relief for mild to moderate arthritis pain in the hands.

Topical Creams, Gels and Ointments

There are three, basic types of topical arthritis medications: the first are creams or gels that contain menthol, wintergreen or eucalyptus oil, which provide either a hot or cold sensation to dull the pain; the second are topical analgesics, such as Bengay or Aspercreme; the third are prescription gels that contain the drug diclofenac.

Natural Remedies

One of the most common natural remedies for arthritis is the use of epsom salt and warm water, which is used to soak the hands. Glucosamine Sulfate, which can be consumed in liquid or powder form, may be used as an alternative to anti-inflammatory drugs for reducing pain.

Herbs and Vitamins

Some of the herbs commonly used to treat arthritis in the hands include devil's claw, feverfew and ginger, while some of the vitamins commonly taken for arthritis in the hands include C, A, E and B-complex, as well as omega-3 fatty acids.


Always seek the advice of your doctor before taking any medications or treatments for arthritis in the hands.

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About the Author

Rebecca Turley has been writing since 1998. In addition to working as a marketing director for several companies, she is heavily involved in freelance writing, copyediting and editing and has worked for such companies as Demand Studios and Uptik Research. Turley received her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism/communications from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pa.