Ways to Stop Pain, Limitations from Hand Arthritis
ROCHESTER, Minn. -- When arthritis affects the hands, a range of treatments may reduce pain and preserve joint mobility. The August issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter provides an overview.
Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative arthritis, is related to aging. In the hands, it occurs when the stress of everyday motions or an injury wears down the smooth cartilage surfaces required for pain-free movement. The result can be swollen, tender finger joints and pain, which limit activity. Treatment options include:
Topical anti-inflammatory drugs: Of particular value for relief is the prescription gel diclofenac (Voltaren). It's rubbed on the skin around the affected joints. Because the medication is applied directly to the affected location, side-effects are of less concern than with oral medications.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS): Nonprescription aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Aleve, others) or prescription-strength medications may help reduce inflammation, swelling and pain. Ongoing use can cause ulcers, stomach bleeding and other side-effects.
Splints: Splints reduce pain two ways -- by supporting the joint in an optimal position for function or by providing a stable resting position, which allows for better function when the splint is removed.
Corticosteroid injections: These injections provide short-term pain relief but generally aren't given in the same spot more than once or twice a year.
When conservative measures don't control pain, surgery can be performed to fuse or replace joints. <
|SOURCE Mayo Clinic|
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