Arthritis, which means ‘inflammation of the joints’, is actually a symptom that has a number of causes. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by local structural changes in specific joints; while rheumatoid arthritis, the next most common type, is a systemic disease affecting the entire body. There’s currently no cure for arthritis, but some treatments could help to reduce some of the painful symptoms.
Here are some simple exercises that could help to relieve some of the arthritic joint pain:
1) Fist clenching
Beginning with your hands and fingers spread out, slowly clench your hand into a fist. Keep your thumb on the outside of the fist, being careful not to squeeze your hand too much. Slowly unclench your fist into its original position. Repeat this 10 times, and then swap hands.
2) Knuckle bending: Keeping your fingers straight, bend your knuckles as far as comfortable, apply a stretch and straighten your fingers fully.
3) Thumb bending: Using one of your hands, hold the base of the other hand’s thumb. Without moving the base of the thumb, bend the top half of the thumb, until you feel the stretch. Return the thumb tip to its original position, and repeat.
4) Finger Lifting: Rest the palm of your hand on a table, with all of your fingers spread apart. One by one, slowly lift each finger off the table. Hold the finger in the air for a few seconds, before slowly lowering it.
5) Make an ‘O’: This stretch will help relieve achy or stiff pains in the hands. Start with your left hand out and fingers straight, then, curve all of your fingers inward until they touch. Your fingers should form the shape of an ‘O’. Hold this position for a few seconds. Then straighten your fingers again. Repeat this exercise a few times a day on each hand.
6) Play with clay: It could help to ease arthritis pain. Playing with clay is a great way to increase the range of motion in your fingers and strengthen your hands at the same time – and it won’t even feel like exercise.