Many individuals with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) deal with hand pain, and the joints of the hands are particularly susceptible to pain, since they have so little support. Carpal tunnel syndrome is also quite common in RA sufferers. When RA causes the irritation and swelling of synovial membranes around tendons located in the carpal tunnel, it may result in carpal tunnel, especially in individuals who engage in any type of repetitive finger or wrist motion. If you're dealing with hand pain associated with RA, or a combination of pain resulting from RA and carpal tunnel, try the following options to reduce the pain.
1 – Paraffin Wax Bath
One excellent way to reduce your hand pain is to use a paraffin wax bath regularly. A paraffin wax bath includes dipping your hands in warm wax several times, ensuring they are completely covered. Once the hands are covered with wax, place a plastic bag or warm towel over the hands to preserve the warmth. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, heat treatments, such as a paraffin wax bath, can help to relax muscles and increase blood flow in the hands.
2 – Soak in a Warm Bath
Soaking in a warm bath offers a great way to reduce the pain in your hands, as well as the pain of RA in the rest of the body. The Arthritis Foundation suggests soaking in a warm bath for 20 minutes, and it's important to keep water warm, not hot. Soaking in the warm water helps to reduce the force of gravity compressing the joints in the hands, and it helps to reduce inflammation and swelling too. Doing some gentle stretching of the hands or adding some Epsom bath salts may help improve the effectiveness of your warm bath.
3 – Gently Exercise Your Hands
When you're dealing with significant pain in your hands, you may not feel like moving them or using them. However, gently exercising your hands may provide some relief. You can use a soft Nerf ball to exercise your hands, which will help reduce stiffness and improve dexterity. Mayo Clinic recommends doing a simple exercise, which includes holding fingers straight and then bending the middle and end joints of the fingers very slowly. If possible, repeat this exercise a few times on each hand.
These are a few simple ways you can reduce some of the pain associated with RA. However, this type of arthritis requires medical treatment, so make sure you talk to your doctor about medications that can reduce pain and keep RA from doing more damage to your hands.