Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Treatment of Arthritis in the Hands

Arthritis is a, somewhat, general term referring to the inflammation in the joints. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, where the cartilage in the joints starts to deteriorate and bones start rubbing against each other directly. It feels as bad as it sounds, not very pleasant.
Besides pain, arthritis often causes deformities within the joints, limiting the range of motion and movement itself. It can be quite challenging, regardless of the location, and especially difficult when it affects hands.
The hands are so specific because they are made up of many smaller joints that work together and allow movements. So, if any of those joints "malfunctions" it will disrupt the entire hand and make those precise movements, such as threading the needle, nearly impossible.
Causes
So what causes arthritis in the hands? Well, the simplest reason would be wear and tear, combined with age, but I can't just leave you with that. To answer this question, we must look more into the joints themselves and identify the "troublemakers".
First, we need to analyze cartilage. Its main role is to absorb shock and act as a cushion between bones of the joint. Over time it deteriorates, "forcing" bones to rub on each other, causing pain, swelling and deformity.
Second "bad boy" is lubrication. As we get older and less active, joints are less lubricated. This results in faster cartilage deterioration and causes troubles.
Common symptoms of arthritis in the hand joints (or any other joint for that matter) are pain, swelling, elevated temperature, occasional cysts and even changes on surrounding joints.
How To Treat It?
So, the question is what can you do? Luckily, there is plenty you can do but the effects will vary depending on several factors:
- Your age
- The progress of arthritis
- Number of joints affected etc.
This is why you must visit your doctor as soon as possible. Many people refuse to go see a doctor for numerous reasons, most often because they don't want to admit to themselves something is wrong with them. They believe that if they are not diagnosed they are not sick. Big mistake! Instead of messing around and living in denial, you could be using that time to help yourself. What will you choose?
I hope you went for the second choice because we are going to discuss some common ways of treatment for arthritis.
People first reach for medication, and I can understand that. If you are in pain and you want it to go away, medication is a reasonable choice. But you need to know that medication is only addressing the symptoms of the disease, not root cause!
Medication will not renew your cartilage and cure you eventually. This may not be what you wanted to hear, but I must be honest, this is a serious matter. Medication treatment might include injections, so if you are not squeamish, they are a good way to go.
Other forms of treatment include exercises, hot and/or cold treatment, rest and physical therapy.
Whatever you do, please consult with your doctor first, he/she will know best what to do since he/she can access your situation and tailor the treatment process specifically to your needs.
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