Caring for Your Senior Parent: Dealing With Arthritis Hand Pain

Arthritis hand pain can be debilitating, with inflammation and stiffness in the joints making everyday activities difficult. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to reduce your symptoms and make your hands more comfortable. Specifically, there are five tactics to help manage your senior parent’s arthritis hand pain:

  1. Exercise: Regular exercise helps increase joint flexibility and strength, which can help alleviate arthritis hand pain. Low-impact exercises such as swimming, yoga, or tai chi can benefit those with arthritic issues. It is recommended that affected individuals speak to their doctor before beginning an exercise regimen. This visit will work to ensure that an appropriate program tailored to the specific needs of a senior can be created.
  2. Diet: Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables is essential for overall health and managing arthritis hand pain. Fruits high in vitamin C, such as oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, and kiwi, have been found to reduce inflammation. In addition, foods high in antioxidants, like blueberries or cherries, can help protect cartilage from wear and tear associated with arthritic conditions. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil may help reduce joint swelling and tenderness associated with arthritis pain.
  3. Splints: Wearing a splint on the affected joint at night can help keep it immobilized during sleep without using drugs or surgery. A splint also helps relieve pressure on the joint by reducing movement while resting. A splint can also assist in swelling by supporting the joint at a comfortable angle throughout the night.
  4. Heat therapy: Applying heat directly to painful areas through heating pads or hot baths and showers relieves arthritic symptoms. This includes symptoms like inflammation and stiffness of the hands or fingers.
  5. Alternative therapies: Some alternative therapies, such as acupuncture and massage, have been helpful when dealing with chronic arthritic hand pain. With that said, it is important to note that these treatments should only be utilized after consulting a healthcare professional like a primary care physician before embarking on these therapies.

Common Signs of Arthritis in the Hands

Seniors are particularly vulnerable to developing arthritis due to the natural wear-and-tear of the body over time and other issues. If your senior mother shows signs of arthritis in her hands, it’s important to recognize them early and take steps to reduce her symptoms. There are five early warning signs that your senior parent may be experiencing arthritis in his or her hands:

  1. Joint stiffness: One of the earliest signs of arthritis is joint stiffness, particularly in the morning or after periods of inactivity. When joints become stiff and painful, your senior parent may experience difficulty completing everyday tasks like buttoning a shirt or tying shoelaces.
  2. Swelling around joints: Inflammation around the joint areas indicates that your senior parent may be dealing with some form of arthritis. The area will normally feel warm to the touch. There may also be visible swelling present. This is especially true when comparing one side of a senior’s body with the other. In other words, one hand may swell more than the other if a senior has arthritis on one side only.
  3. Difficulty grasping objects: If your senior parent experiences difficulty grasping objects because of pain or stiffness, arthritis and associated hand pain are possible causes. It can be difficult for seniors with limited strength to pick up heavier items like gallon jugs or cans from shelves. This inability can worsen as an arthritic condition progresses if left untreated.
  4. Redness around the fingers: While inflammation and redness around other body parts can indicate an infection or bug bite, redness around the fingers often indicates something else is wrong – specifically osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. If you notice red patches near your parent’s knuckles or along the fingernails, your mother or father should immediately see a doctor for evaluation and treatment options.
  5. Tender nodules on hands: In some cases, nodules (or bumps) will develop along affected areas. These are caused by calcium deposits that form around inflamed joints due to osteoarthritis. They are also known as Heberden’s nodes. Although tender when touched, these nodules won’t cause permanent damage if treated properly by a medical professional. However, they can lead to weakened bones and further joint damage if left untreated.

Dealing With Your Senior Parent’s Arthritis Hand Pain

Arthritis hand pain is a common issue faced by millions of people worldwide and can be debilitating. Left untreated, arthritis hand pain can lead to joint damage, immobility, and decreased quality of life. Fortunately, multiple medical treatment options are available for those dealing with this condition.

One of the most widely used treatments for arthritis hand pain is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These medications work by reducing inflammation in affected joints and diminishing pain. Ibuprofen and naproxen are the most commonly prescribed NSAIDs for this purpose. Other NSAID treatments include celecoxib and diclofenac sodium. These medications can be taken orally or as topical gels or creams applied directly to painful areas.

Corticosteroid injections are another option for treating arthritis hand pain. These injections work by introducing an anti-inflammatory medication directly into the joint area, where it can work quickly to reduce swelling and improve function. Additionally, corticosteroids may help alleviate some associated symptoms, such as stiffness and tenderness.

In more severe cases, surgery may be recommended to reduce symptoms or repair damaged joints or ligaments in the hands or fingers. Surgery generally involves removing parts of damaged tissue to relieve pressure on the joint and make it easier to move again. In some instances, joint fusion surgery may also stabilize painful joints or correct deformities caused by arthritic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Physical therapy is another important treatment option for managing arthritis hand pain. Physical therapists use various techniques such as stretching exercises, massage therapy, cold packs, heat packs, electrical stimulation devices, splinting devices, and more to help increase the range of motion around the joints while decreasing associated stiffness and discomfort. Physical therapy can also help strengthen surrounding muscles, providing better support for painful joints over time.

Finally, lifestyle changes can go a long way in reducing arthritis hand pain and preventing further damage from occurring in affected areas over time. Simple measures like wearing protective gloves when doing activities that involve repetitive movements or carrying out regular stretching exercises can help minimize stress on already weakened joints while promoting good overall health practices at the same time. Additionally, eating a nutritious diet full of healthy fats like Omega 3 can greatly improve overall musculoskeletal health, which will have positive consequences for those dealing with arthritic conditions too.