If you are affected by rheumatoid arthritis of the hands please read this article, it may provide some answers for you in terms of what will help with Rheumatoid arthritis pain, what is the best rheumatoid arthritis symptoms treatment and how to deal with yet another flare up of rheumatoid arthritis in the hand.
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune ailment, your hands are more inclined to have this very painful condition because of the number of joints in each hand (25 in total) RA happens because your immune system thinks it is under attack and erroneously attacks the joints in your hand, this action leads to inflammation ending in sharp pain.
The symptoms of RA will vary from person to person, some will experience symptoms almost all the time whilst others may have to deal with flare ups that become severe but calm down after a time. The research into autoimmune disorders is ongoing because we need to u understand it better, but it is thought that autoimmune disease such as arthritis, psoriasis, lupus and polymyalgia tend to gather together, in other words people who have one form of autoimmune disease may also develop another form.
Which Hand Joints are Affected by Rheumatoid Arthritis?
The joints that link your fingers to your hands are known as the metacarpophalangeal joints, these are the ones most likely to be affected by RA, the symptoms of swelling and pain will most likely be felt in the joints in the middle knuckle of your finger as well as between the wrist and forearm. At the beginning you may feel less pain in the peripheral joints known as the distal interphalangeal joint until the inflammation spreads to the joints further down the hand.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis in the Hands?
People complain mostly about pain, swelling or stiffness in their hands and fingers, some have experienced other symptoms such as:
- Like carpel tunnel syndrome numbness and tingling
- A warm and tender feeling when touching the finger joint
- Out of shape wrist or finger joints
The stiffness and pain will usually be felt for more than a couple of hours in the morning time and these symptoms will normally be experienced in both hands.
Treatments for RA in the Hands?
We know that there is no cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis at all, but you can reduce the symptoms of RA and make your life a little more comfortable with several treatments such as:
- Over the counter and prescription anti-inflammatory medications may help to lessen the pain and inflammation when you are dealing with a flare up. To prevent the flare ups, you need to take other types of medication and lessen the pain and damage to your joints. Some people find that by resting it can relieve the pain others recommend regular exercise along with stretches of the affected joints to relieve the stiffness and pain. A physiotherapist can design a muscle strengthening exercise to also help to alleviate the pain and swelling.
- Omega 3 fatty acids found in foods such as sardines, salmon, mackerel or trout can help to curtail the inflammation, other foods that contain the omega 3 fatty acids would be walnuts or flax seed oil.
If you are prone to a high level of stress and you have RA in your hands you need to use strategies to deal with that. High levels of stress can bring on a flare up in certain people. By avoiding stressful situations, it can help to lessen the number of flare ups that you have.
In a minority of cases and only where the joints are badly damage would surgery be considered an option.
If you would like to try and treat yourself at home try using an ice pack to reduce the swelling or a heat pack on the affected area, this may help to sooth the inflammation and pain, use the heat pack around the affected area for about 15 minutes to ease the pain, this method is useful before any exercise.
What changes can help Rheumatoid Arthritis victims?
Anyone who has RA for a long period may find that they lose some of their deftness, meaning they can’t do things so well with the affected hand, these simple steps may help to make life that little bit easier:
- Velcro fasteners on clothing easier to work than buttons
- Foam padding to writing instruments – easier to grasp
- Lighter pots and pans
- Doorknob accessory making them easier to turn
Complications of Rheumatoid Arthritis of the hands?
Treatment may be required in certain cases especially where the condition has deformed the joints, one of these is called a boutonniere deformity whereby the middle finger has been bent in the direction of the palm, at the same time the joint of the last finger has bent the other way. This happens because of chronic inflammation in the middle joint of the finger, in this case the middle finger will be operated on to keep the joint extending properly.
Swan neck deformity
This type of deformity is quite common and happens when farthest joint of the finger along with the joint that joins it to the hand bend together and the middle joint stays normal and straight. When this occurs over a period it can create a swan-neck type shape making it very difficult to carry out simple tasks such as holding a cup, buttoning your shirt or tying your shoe laces. Depending on how bad the condition is surgery may be required to realign or to fuse the joints to bring back normal movement or a finger splint or ring may be used.
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Why not give Serranol a try?
Because Rheumatoid Arthritis of the hand is primarily caused by inflammation of the joints, the cause is inflammation leading to swelling and pain. By tackling the inflammation first, we know that eventually this will reduce the swelling. As the swelling reduces you will find the pain will start to subside and be less painful, this treatment will take a bit of time but the rewards of a better quality of life are worth it.
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