Arthritic Hands, New York Times
If you don't have arthritis, you don't want to get it, although that may be out of your control. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of those conditions that may, unfortunately, be handed down to you by your predecessors. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, occurs as we age and is the result of wear and tear on our joints. Here are some techniques to use to prevent arthritis and to alleviate arthritis pain if you already have it.
Position Yourself Correctly
According to the Mayo Clinic, use good body mechanics, which a lot of us don't do, and then we pay the price. If you are sitting for long hours, typing away at the keyboard, make sure that your work surface is at the proper height, which should be 2 inches below your bent elbow. Sit so that your feet and back are supported as well as your forearms. If the chair that you sit in while typing doesn't have arm rests, consider purchasing forearm and wrist supports.
Don't Pinch and Clutch
Instead of carrying a clutch, get yourself a shoulder bag. You need to avoid pinching items, such as a clutch purse, in between your fingers and thumb. If you are holding onto a mug, hold it in the palm or palms of your hand instead of gripping the handle on the mug.
Use Ergonomically Correct Tools
If you use tools frequently, purchase those that are ergonomically correct. If your hand is balled up into a fist for hours at a time while you work, this will aggravate existing arthritis and may lead to it if you don't already have it.
Exercise Your Hands
Exercise your hands and fingers just like you do (or should be) the rest of your body. Hold up your hands and splay your fingers. Give them a good stretch. Pull back gently on your fingers. Clench and then unclench your fists. Massage your hands and fingers. If your hands are really hurting, apply a soothing and warm topical arthritic cream to them or heat up a pair of cotton gloves in the microwave, put them on, and let your aching hands absorb the heat.
Move Your Hands and Fingers Correctly
If at all possible, try to avoid doing things that require prolonged pinching or gripping or forceful gestures. The Mayo Clinic advises that finger motions should always be done in the direction of the thumb whenever possible. In other words, think of ways to modify your hand and finger movements that will eliminate stress on them.
Pay Attention to What You're Doing
In general, be cognizant of how you are using your hands. According to the Mayo Clinic, we use our hands and figures all of the time in our normal daily activities and that can't be avoided. However, if you are putting extreme and repeated stress on your joints this may result in pain. Think about better and more accommodating ways to do the tasks that you routinely do, and which involve the hands, that may be kinder and gentler to your fingers and hands. Repeated overuse of the hands and fingers can result in deformity. The joints can only take so much.
Take Daily Supplements and Keep Moving
Arthritis.ygoy.com advises that you drink a lot of water daily so that your joints remain lubricated. Take a daily supplement that contains chondroitin sulphate, MSM, vitamins C and D, glucosamine and boron because this will strengthen your joints. Work some exercise into your daily routine because this will strengthen your tendons, ligaments and muscles, which are associated with joints and enable you to build denser bones.