For many men and women, arthritis treatment begins with a preventative, proactive approach. This includes maintaining proper hand health, and learning how to effectively minimize joint pain. Here’s a closer look at some ways to keep hands and joints healthy and pain-free.
The Complex Nature
of the Hand
The hand, by nature, is one of the most complex parts of the body simply because it’s required to perform such a wide variety of tasks. There are very few activities that can be carried out without using the hands. Pain in the joints of the hand can indicate a number of issues, and could have a number of different causes. If you notice hand and joint pain, an accurate diagnosis from a hand and wrist surgeon is essential in order to ensure the correct approach toward treatment.
Arthritis in the hand is very common, and is also one of the most frequent diagnoses for joint pain in the hand. Other reasons for joint pain include old injuries that healed incompletely or incorrectly. More current injuries, like strain from overuse, can also cause pain in the hand.
When faced with hand or joint pain, a common response is to ignore it and assume the aches will vanish on their own over time. However, an undiagnosed condition can actually worsen if left untreated. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment are essential to fully healing the affected area. At the same time, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer for treating the hand and wrist.
Taking an individualized approach toward treating hand and joint pain is essential for the best results. The treatment chosen varies depending on the true cause of the pain. Sometimes, joints need to be taped up for improved stability; in other cases, physical exercises from a hand therapist may be needed to help the affected joint. Targeted exercises will strengthen the muscles around the hand and wrist, offering more support for the affected joint. The right approach will help remove joint stress and relieve inflammation, which in turn reduce pain.
Treatment is always begun conservatively whenever possible. This means exploring less invasive options first to see if relief can be gained without surgery. Only if it seems like symptoms are failing to improve or even worsening does surgery become a consideration.
Looking at Lifestyle
Lifestyle, including both recreational time and work habits, can have a huge impact on hand health and joint pain. Constant, repetitive motions of the type seen in day laborer jobs or auto mechanics can put pressure on the hands and wrist that could lead to conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome. Left untreated, these issues can continue and worsen, possibly causing permanent damage that could necessitate surgery.
Other lifestyle factors to consider include diet and exercise. Making sure your body is getting the right kind of nutrition to keep joints, bones and muscles healthy is essential to ensuring good joint health. Some studies show that supplements may benefit the joints, either by reducing inflammation or increasing lubrication for easier movement. Working closely with a doctor can help determine whether these options may be right for you.
When it comes to hand and joint pain, the important thing to remember is that you can’t move forward without a diagnosis. Don’t just assume that those nagging aches and pains will go away on their own. Instead, visit a hand and wrist surgeon for an accurate diagnosis, so you can begin the right course of treatment as soon as possible.