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What is Basal Joint Arthritis?
Basal joint arthritis, or thumb arthritis, happens when the joint at your wrist and the carpometacarpal, the joint at the base of the thumb, develops osteoarthritis.
Characterized by debilitating hand pain, decreased strength, limited range of motion, and swelling, basal joint arthritis can significantly affect one’s lifestyle. Everyday household chores become very difficult and even simple tasks like opening jars or turning doorknobs can become difficult.
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The focus of the treatment of thumb arthritis is to reduce pain while minimizing disability. In addition, the treatment plan also targets to maintain or improve joint movement.
There are various treatment options for basal joint arthritis. The options include self-care measures, conventional medications and corticosteroid injections. The doctor may recommend a combination of these non-surgical treatments. Surgery may be the last option for severe cases.
Fortunately, there are alternatives to conventional treatments and surgery. In the following sections, the natural forms of treatment with corresponding benefits, side effects and risks are presented.
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Lifestyle changes are on top of the list of basal thumbnail arthritis natural treatments. Self-care measures such as exercise, the application of heat and cold and the use of adaptive equipments can all help minimize the pan and improve mobility.
It is very important to maintain the range of motion. Maintaining the mobility of the joint increases the functionality of the joint. In return, this translates to less pain. To maintain the range of motion, it is recommended that you perform exercises that move the thumb through its full range of motion. Seek the advice of your doctor regarding thumb exercises to incorporate in everyday activities.
Applying heat or cold to the joints can effectively calm down the arthritis flare-ups. Alternating between heat and cold can also soothe the joints and relieve the swelling.
Finally, adaptive equipments can be of great help for everyday tasks. Consider purchasing large zipper pulls, key turners, and jar openers. It is also advised to replace door handles with levers. Ask your therapist for further information on adaptive equipments and their significance.
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To limit the movement while supporting the affected joints, the doctor may recommend the use of splint. This is another natural treatment to alleviate the symptoms of basal joint arthritis. Splints encourage proper positioning to reduce the pain. A splint may be worn during sleep or all day long depending on the patient's needs. Over-reliance on splints, however, may weaken the muscles. This can result in more strain on the joint causing even more pain later.
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Acupuncture has been used by the Chinese since ancient times in treating arthritis. Acupuncture is found to provide relief from the symptoms of thumb arthritis with minimal side effects. In fact, acupuncture treatments may be more effective than the standard care options. It should be noted, however, that practitioners should complement acupuncture natural treatments with other procedures such as exercise and weight loss plans.
It is best recommended to find a certified acupuncturist to do the treatment process. Usually, the expert will also recommend herbs and diet choices to complement the treatment.
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Some natural herbs can provide pain relief for thumb arthritis. Herbs that may be advantageous are turmeric, ginger and holy basil. It is advised that you consult your doctor first before starting herbal remedies for proper guidance and monitoring.
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The Bottom Line
Many natural treatments are effective ways to manage thumb arthritis or basal joint arthritis. There are negligible side effects and the risks are low with these natyral approaches. Nevertheless, the guidance of your doctor is imperative in trying these natural methods. Natural means of managing this type of arthritis may work well with conventional treatments too. It is highly recommended to work cooperatively with the medical experts like doctors, physical therapists and natural treatment practitioners.