Category Archives: hand arthritis

Knee cracking, popping could be early sign of osteoarthritis

As a long time arthritis sufferer, I have it in both hands, I am acutely aware of arthritis pain while trying to grip. I also know that arthritis can strike other joints with equal severity. Knowing the early signs may be helpful in clearing up bad health habits.

While snap, crackle and pop might be good sounds for your cereal, they may not be good noises in your knees. A new study by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine published today in Arthritis Care & Research says these might be early predictors of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis.

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“Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis that affects the knee joint,” said Dr. Grace Lo, assistant professor of medicine in the section of immunology, allergy and rheumatology at Baylor. “We wanted to see if complaints about popping or snapping in the knee joint, also known as crepitus, were predictive of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis, which is a combination of a frequent history of pain as well as radiographic evidence of knee osteoarthritis.” Continue reading

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Is it Okay to Exercise if you Suffer from Arthritis?

Because arthritis sufferers experience pain when they move, many conclude that not moving is healthier because it doesn’t hurt. Unfortunately, that is one instance where listening to your body is not the best course of action. I hope the following information will alter that conclusion.

First, some startling statistics on arthritis from Ashley Boynes.

Some 50 million Americans have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. That’s 22 per cent of the population, more than 1-in-5 adults!

Arthritis costs the US economy $128 BILLION per year.

Sad statistic – 31 per cent of US 18-64 year olds with arthritis either can’t work, or report work limitations.

Arthritis is the number one MOST COMMON disability.

Some 32 percent of veterans surveyed in 36 States had been diagnosed with arthritis, compared with 22 percent of non-veterans, representing a 50 per cent increased risk for arthritis for veterans.

More than 1,000,000 joints will be replaced this year alone.

To answer the question about suitability of exercising with arthritis, I recently attended a Northwestern Memorial Hospital Healthy Transitions presentation on Arthritis and Exercise.
Continue reading

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5 Ways to manage arthritis pain – Harvard

No one has to explain arthritis pain to me. I have lived with it in both my hands, at the base of my thumbs, for years.

Arthritis is a painful problem that can interfere with your ability to do the things you enjoy. But you can take steps to manage arthritis by protecting your joints, reducing discomfort, and improving mobility.

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Physical or occupational therapists can be very helpful in teaching you how to modify activities and accomplish daily tasks more easily in order to manage arthritis. But there are simple things you can do for yourself, starting today. Here are five of them:

Keep moving. Avoid holding one position for too long. When working at a desk, for example, get up and stretch every 15 minutes. Do the same while sitting at home reading or watching television. Continue reading

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Daily aspirin benefits outweigh risk to stomach – Study

As a daily consumer of aspirin for the arthritis in my hands, I was pleased to run across this new study from Cardiff University on the drug’s benefits.

Stomach bleeds caused by aspirin are considerably less serious than the spontaneous bleeds that can occur in people not taking the drug, concludes a study led by Cardiff University.

 

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Published in the journal Public Library of Science, the extensive study of literature on aspirin reveals that while regular use of the drug increases the risk of stomach bleeds by about a half, there is no valid evidence that any of these bleeds are fatal.

Professor Peter Elwood from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine said: “Although many people use aspirin daily to reduce the risk of health problems such as cancer and heart disease, the wider use of the drug is severely limited because of the side effect of bleeding from the stomach…”

“With our study showing that there is no increased risk of death from stomach bleeding in people who take regular aspirin, we hope there will be better confidence in the drug and wider use of it by older people, leading to important reductions in deaths and disablement from heart disease and cancer across the community.”

Professor Peter Elwood, School of Medicine
Heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death and disability across the world, and research has shown that a small daily dose of aspirin can reduce the occurrence of both diseases by around 20-30%.

Recent research has also shown that low-doses of aspirin given to patients with cancer, alongside chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy, is an effective additional treatment, reducing the deaths of patients with bowel, and possibly other cancers, by a further 15%.

The study ‘Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials to ascertain fatal gastrointestinal bleeding events attributable to preventive low-dose aspirin: No evidence of increased risk’ can be found in Public Library of Science.

Tony

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6 ways to use your mind to control pain – Harvard

In an effort to keep as many foreign substances outside of my circulatory system, I take as few drugs as possible. Since I suffer from arthritis of the hands, I have to resist the temptation to get into painkillers daily. I fear the side effects more than my hands hurting.

The Harvard Health Publications offer  a number of techniques, some of them age old, that may reduce one’s need for pain medication.

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No respecter of age, arthritis pain can strike in numerous places.

The following techniques can help you take your mind off the pain and may help to override established pain signals.

1. Deep breathing. It’s central to all the techniques, so deep breathing is the one to learn first. Inhale deeply, hold for a few seconds, and exhale. To help you focus, you can use a word or phrase to guide you. For example, you may want to breathe in “peace” and breathe out “tension.” There are also several apps for smartphones and tablets that use sound and images to help you maintain breathing rhythms. Continue reading

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What About Gin-Soaked Raisins for Arthritis?

Nearly 50 million Americans suffer from pain in their joints, often a result of arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation says there are more than 100 types of arthritis.

I am a sufferer, afflicted with osteoarthritis. It rests in the base of my thumbs and impairs the use of my hands. Buttoning and unbuttoning, turning a key in a lock are immediate sources of stabbing pains in my palms.

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A long time friend of mine told me about the raisin cure. We played in the Pony League together when we were 13 and 14 years old. We are now in our 70’s and both suffer from arthritis. Continue reading

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Some Supplements to Ease Arthritis Pain – WebMD

Regular readers know that I have suffered from severe arthritis in both of my hands. I have tried a number of remedies to ease the pain over the years. Some help to a greater or lesser extent. You can type arthritis into the search box at the right and explore a number of them.

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Here is what WebMD suggests:

Arthritis Pain
“If you have any type of arthritis, you should keep up with the treatments your doctor recommends. If you want to add a supplement, you might consider:

“SAM-e. This is a man-made version of a chemical that your body makes. Early research suggests it may relieve arthritis symptoms as well as some medications do. You can take it in capsule form, 600-1,200 milligrams per day, divided into three doses. SAM-e is also what is called ‘poor man’s prozac.’ You can take it to mellow out if you are stressed. However, I have some much more salubrious suggestions for handling stress in the blog. Search either s t r e s s or relaxation to read them.

“Glucosamine/chondroitin. If your osteoarthritis is moderate or severe, glucosamine and chondroitin may help with pain. But the research is mixed. So ask your doctor if it’s OK for you and, if so, what dosage you should take.

“Boswellia. Studies suggest this tree resin can reduce osteoarthritis pain. It may also help with rheumatoid arthritis. You can take boswellia as a capsule or tablet, up to 900 milligrams per day.

“Capsaicin. Capsaicin, which gives chili peppers their fiery kick, may temporarily ease arthritis pain. It comes in a skin cream, gel, or patch. Apply it three times a day, but stop using it if it irritates your skin.

“Other natural aids. Avocado-soybean oil blend, cat’s claw, fish oil, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), and ginger may also help with arthritis pain.”

Although WebMD didn’t mention it, I use mustard seed oil that I bought from Amazon. Just rub it on the afflicted joint liberally. It is also good for reducing swelling.

One last suggestion from me: the holy grail as far as I am concerned is exercise. A doctor suggested I take up knitting for my hand arthritis. I have had friends in similar circumstances who got the same advice. Those Chinese exercise balls work well, too. You need to  use the whole hand to roll them around. The old adage use it or lose it operates here. You need movement in the affected joint for mobility and lubrication.

Good luck!

Tony

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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. Continue reading

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