Exercises to improve rheumatoid arthritis pain and its symptoms can also help to reduce fatique and improve your sleep. As you begin to exercise regularly, you will realize the benefits. Regular exercise can keep muscles around affected joints strong, decrease bone loss, and help control pain and swelling. The best way to begin is with a gentle walk, and then slowly add a little distance to your walk. After time, maybe add in a few stretching or strengthening exercises. Always check with your physician before beginning any exercise program.
Hand Exercises to Help Ease Rheumatoid Arthritis
The hands and feet are usually the first to be hit with rheumatoid arthritis. Hand exercises can help to maintain flexibility, motion and strength. A rheumatologist, physical therapist or occupational therapist can help you to set up a regular program tailored for your needs. A few exercises that could be included to help maintain mobility are:
1. Gently squeeze fingers into a fist. Now open the hand, stretching fingers outward. Make a fist again, then stretch fingers outward again. Repeat five times with both hands, twice daily.
2. With your wrist, fingers and thumb pointing upward, touch your index finger to the thumb. Hold for ten to twenty seconds. Repeat five times, twice daily.
3. Hold hand straight with fingers pointing upward. Bend fingers down so they are touching the palm (not a fist). Fingers need to be touching the palms. Hold for five seconds. Repeat with both hands twice daily.
4. Keeping wrist straight, bend the base joints of the fingers, which connect fingers to the palm. Hold for five to ten seconds. Repeat twice daily on both hands.
5. Keeping wrist and base joints straight, bend your middle and end joints of fingers toward the palm, one at a time. Hold each position for five seconds. Repeat on all ten fingers, twice daily.
6. Bend each finger from the base joint downward. Repeat this movement using the second row of knuckles in your finger. Now do third row of joints in your fingers. Hold for ten seconds. Repeat on all ten fingers, twice daily.
Exercises to Help Ease Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain
Range of motion exercises, for strengthening and endurance, are a gentle stretching movement that keeps each joint fully mobile and prevents deformities and stiffness. These exercises bring nutrients to the joints and remove waste products, keeping bones strong and healthy. Other exercises to help ease rheumatoid arthritis pain include:
1. Holding hands in front of you, rotate wrists clockwise, then counterclockwise. Repeat 10 times twice daily.
2. With arm straight out in front of you bend arm and touch shoulder, straighten out again. Repeat with both arms 10 times twice daily.
3. While sitting at a table, rest forearms on the table with palms up, then turn palms down, then up, then down. Repeat with both arms 10 times twice daily.
4. While still sitting, straighten your leg out, then bend your knee; repeat 10 times with both legs twice daily.
5. Flex your ankle, point toes up and then point downward. Repeat with both feet 10 times twice daily.
6. Rotate the ankle in a circular motion, first clockwise, then counter clockwise. Repeat with both ankles 10 times twice daily.
7. Stand behind a chair with your right hand placed on the back of the chair. Bend over and let your left arm dangle straight down. Gently draw circles, working from small circles up to large circles. Repeat with both arms 10 times twice daily.
While the exact causes of rheumatoid arthritis are still unknown, most doctors believe that a genetic component seems likely. Gentle exercise can help to strengthen muscles around the joints and fight the fatigue. These exercises are effective for maintaining mobility and helping to ease rheumatoid arthritis pain. Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.