Five Pain Relief Options
1. Anti - inflammatory Medication
An anti-inflammatory, such as Celebrex, can reduce pain and swelling in the joints.
2. Cortisone Injections.
This involves the injection of a cortisone steroid into the affected joint. It works very well, although there is a limit to how many injections can be given.
3. Hot and Cold Therapy
This involves the use of hot wax that is stored in a stainless steel unit. The hands are dipped into the wax up to the wrists and lifted out. Once the wax has set, the operation is repeated until a wax covering of about 1/8 inch has built up. Next, towels are wrapped over this wax coating and left in place for about 20 minutes, after which the wax is removed by peeling it off the hands.
There are wax units suitable for home use and also “therapeutic mitts" that can be heated in a microwave to give relief from pain and stiffness.
Hot treatments should not be used on joints that are already hot with the affect of arthritis; cold treatment should be used instead.
This involves getting the joints as cold as possible using crushed ice or ice gel packs that can be frozen in the freezer.
A wet cloth should be placed between the skin and the ice-pack to avoid burning the skin.
Ice and hot wax are excellent natural healers, reducing swelling and pain, and giving almost instant pain relief for hand arthritis.
4. Hand Exercises
Hand exercises should be performed following the hot or cold treatment, since the swelling and pain are now reduced enough to allow this.
Please refer to the list of hand exercises in the next section. Most of these can be carried out at home after being demonstrated by a physiotherapist.
5. Hand Splints
Hand splints can be made to rest the hands and to stop further deviation from the original shape.
Resting splints can be worn at night; they do work! Finger splints for conditions such as “trigger finger" also work but have to be used when the arthritis is in the early stages for maximum benefit.