How Do I Get Relief from Arthritis in my Hands?

For more than 20 years I have suffered from arthritis of the hands. Because I am a journalist, I thought I had carpal tunnel syndrome for much of that time. However, I fell off my bike and broke a bone in my wrist when I was in my 50’s and the doctor, looking at my X-rays, said I had arthritis not CTS. Turns out about half the people in the country suffer from arthritis.

If you aren’t clear on arthritis check out my Page What you should know about arthritis. I have written more than a dozen posts on the subject. For the record, I am talking about osteoarthritis, the most common version, not rheumatoid arthritis. Mine is at the base of each thumb, so I have pain using my hands to button, unbutton, turn a key, etc. Just about anything I use my hands for. Yes, that includes typing this.

The acrylic cast build by the Hand Clinic

The acrylic splint build by the Hand Clinic

When I started doctoring, the Northwestern Memorial Hospital Hand Clinic built me an acrylic splint which I wore for several years. I stopped when I discovered trace minerals. You can read my post on that at the link.

I stumbled upon Naproxin Sodium 200 mg capsules a couple of years ago when I got Popeye Elbow and a doctor prescribed it to reduce the swelling. Turned out the Naproxin also relieved the pain in my hands, too.

The compression gloves I wear now

The compression gloves I wear now

When I discussed it with my internist, though, she said that there were some really dangerous side effects to regular use of Naproxin which is an NSAID (Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drug). So, she prescribed Pennsaid which is also an NSAID ointment. Since you rub it on instead of swallowing it, there is significantly less damage to your system that the ones you swallow.

I didn’t get much relief from Pennsaid and I also didn’t like sitting around for periods with both my hands covered with this drug. So I quit using it.

I picked up some Acetomenaphin (Tylenol) at Costco and started taking two 500 MG tablets every morning after that. I did that for a couple of years, but the pain relief benefits seemed to be tailing off and I didn’t want to up the dose.

So I have moved to the next stage, wait for it … compression gloves. I saw an ad for them on the Internet talking about how they gave relief from arthritis pain. If it’s on the Internet it must be true, right? So I ordered a pair. Small risk, possibly big reward.

I have been wearing them for a week now and can confirm that they do give me some  relief from the arthritis. I put them on first thing in the morning and wear them till bedtime.

So far, so good. I feel like I am coming out of a long dark tunnel. I am drug free again.

I believe they make these wraps for the knees, too.

If you suffer from osteoarthritis pain, what do you do to deal with it?

Tony

4 Comments

Filed under arthritis, hand arthritis

4 responses to “How Do I Get Relief from Arthritis in my Hands?

  1. I definitely will look into the compression gloves for my hands. Now if they only made them for feet, that would be good, although difficult to wear with shoes. Not big on taking pain meds or OTC pain relief. Only occasionally will I take Advil or Tylenol. Thanks Tony!

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  2. Tony,

    I’m waiting on x-rays and blood tests to determine what’s going on in my hands. I hope to know next week (first week of Feb). I’ve tried thumb splints, topical ointments that have a medicinal odor that I don’t care for and haven’t shown any help, Aleve/NSAID, cold and heat therapy, and compression gloves. What helps the most when I have a flare-up is a light weight disposable stretchy athletic wrap (in my horseracing days, we called it ‘vet wrap’). I wrap my thumbs then make a turn or two around my whole hand and back to my thumb. It ends up looking like I’ve bandaged my hand for cut or injury to my palm. I do this at night and take it off during the day, and I’m getting along so-so.

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    • HI, Kaye – Thanks for your comment. You have definitely added to the discussion. Your wrap sounds interesting. I am surprised at your ‘flare up,’ though. Mine hurt the same all day every day. Here is a link a friend sent me about Grains and Arthritis.

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  3. 1a5Tu és mara, guria!!Minha inã§ÃƒÂntƒÂeo sempre foi me divertir – confesso que hoje me divirto menos do que no começo,mas ainda me divirto muito. Qqr pessoa que crie blog com outro objetivo além desse, não vai entender a experiência toda.Mas enfim, é como tu disse, tem lugar pra todo mundo e tem leitor pra todo mundo tbem!!Grande beijo pra ti!!

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