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Tips to manage hand Osteoarthritis

Starting to feel a little wear and tear on your hands? Here are some tips for managing Osteoarthritis in your hands.

Start moving

Key to managing pain in all osteoarthritic joints is exercise - and the hand is no different. There are two types of exercise recommended for people who develop Osteoarthritis in the hands.

  • Strengthening exercises, to help keep the muscles that surround the joints in the hand strong.
  • Mobility exercises, to keep your hands flexible and prevent stiffness.

Many doctors recommend moving your joints as far as feels comfortable, many times a day.

Take a break

Osteoarthritis may affect how much you can do with your hands on a given day. It’s important to reduce the amount of stress you place on your hands as they start to get sore. The balance of doing the things you need to and taking regular rest can take a little practice - but is a great help in managing Osteoarthritis.

Analgesic assistance

Many doctors will advise a regime of simple analgesics, such as Paracetamol, as part of a pain management plan. Adults can take Paracetamol up to the maximum dose (4 g/day) to help keep Osteoarthritis pain in the hand under control.

If you notice your pain persisting throughout the day, you could consider taking your Paracetamol medicine every 4 to 6 hours (up to four times a day), to avoid waiting for the pain to get worse before seeking pain relief.

Also, in Panadol Osteo, Paracetamol comes in a modified-release preparation which only needs to be taken three times a day to help relieve osteoarthritic pain. You can find out more about Panadol Osteo here.

You could also consider a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to relieve pain. Always use pain relievers as directed and follow the product information at all times.

The heat is on

Applying hot packs (for example, a microwavable wheat pack) or a hot water bottle is another great way to relieve stiff, painful joints. This is especially helpful before exercising. Make sure you always have a protective layer (a towel will do!) between your skin and the heat pack.

Tools that can help

There are a great variety of tools and gadgets that can help make simple day-to-day tasks easier as you manage Osteoarthritis. If you have trouble turning things because of stiffness, jar openers and tap turners can help. If your Osteoarthritis gets in the way of writing, you could consider a specially designed pen to help.

All of these measures can start to help make your life with hand pain more enjoyable and allow you do the things you want to do.

For more tips on managing your Osteoarthritis, please sign up to our Information Programme.

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