Arthritis Pain Symptom Relief with Hand & Finger Exercises
Joint pain, stiffness, inflammation, and tenderness all qualify as symptoms of arthritis. It affects people of all ages and backgrounds.
Though there is currently no cure for arthritis, there are some ways you can help reduce its painful symptoms. We share five simple exercises that could aid in arthritic joint pain relief.
1. Clench Your Fist
This type of hand arthritis exercise actually makes sense. If you have spent a long period of time writing or keeping your hands inactive, it can actually stiffen or cramped up. This exercise helps alleviate the pain by providing movement, flexibility, and strength to your hands.
Start with your hands and fingers spread out. Then slowly clench your hands into fists. When you spread your fingers out, the extension movement helps relax the joints within the metacarpal and carpals. Then slowly clench your fingers into a fist, keeping your thumb on the outside of the fist. This provides a flexion movement to improve the range of motion for the hand.
Both flexion and extension movements of your hands play a vital role in keeping it active. If you hear cracking, clicking, or popping, it means that your hands have been inactive or stiff for a long time, and these arthritis exercises are doing their job in alleviating the stress. Slowly unclench your fists into their original positions. Try doing this 10 times, being mindful not to squeeze your hand too hard.
2. Bend Your Knuckles
With your fingers straight, bend your knuckles are far as they can comfortably go before applying a stretch and straightening your fingers fully. Bending your knuckles is different from popping it. After all, we pop our knuckles because it’s very stiff and we want to release the pressure. When you bend your knuckles, it helps safely reduce stress within the joints. This can be very useful during the colder seasons where arthritis can get exacerbated and caused painful knuckles. Fortunately for this arthritis hand exercises. It does wonders in loosening up those knuckle joints.
3. Bend Your Thumb
Hold the base of one hand’s thumb with your other hand. Without moving the base of the thumb, bend the top half of the thumb until you feel the stretch. Return the thumb to its original position and then repeat 10 times before switching hands.
One of the things that we don’t realize is that when it comes to arthritis of the hand, the thumb gets the most pain. That is why it’s important to work out the thumb separately. You can try a hand massage, but since the massage parlor charges on a per hour base, it would be much affordable to do some of the thumb arthritis exercises on your own.
You may hear a huge crack, but that only signifies that your thumb hasn’t been moving for a long time. These cracks are good because it helps decrease the pressure and stiffness, therefore, improve the arthritis symptoms. Doing a daily thumb exercise can improve both the digits and the hands as well as the strength of your thumb.
4. Lift Your Fingers
This type of finger exercises for arthritis can truly be a workout for your hands. It’s as if you are in the gym doing a plank or sit-ups, except for your hands and fingers. The whole idea of the lift your fingers type of exercise is to improve the range of motion and flexibility of each digit as well as the hand.
Rest the palm of your hands on a flat surface with all your fingers spread apart. Begin to lift each finger individually off the table, one by one. Hold each finger in the air for a few seconds before slowly lowering it.
When you hold the fingers in the air for a few seconds, that extensive movement helps stretch out your joints, therefore relaxes and soothes it. It is a useful exercise to do daily to get rid of that morning stiffness and to promote relaxation for your hands and fingers. It’s like giving your hand a yoga experience to get rid of those crazy arthritis symptoms.
5. Making an “O”
This is a strange and unique type of arthritis exercise for your hands. It could be difficult at first, but you will see the results right away. Since it involves curling your fingers in the shape of an O, you might feel awkward and strange.
Start with your hands out and fingers straight. Then curve all your fingers inward until they touch. Your fingers should form the shape of an “O”. Hold this position for a few seconds before straightening your fingers again. Repeat this exercise a few times on each hand.
It might start by stiffening your hands and fingers. Wait for a few seconds and then straighten out your fingers - you will feel a sense of relief and relaxation. The purpose of this exercise is that the tension from the hand signals the brain to get ready to release endorphins. Whenever you straighten out your fingers after that tense moment, your brain will release chemical signals to maximize the flexibility and blood vessel dilation that runs toward your digits. When that happens, you get twice as much blood flow and mitigation of pressure than other hand exercises. It’s an alteration between pressure and pleasure for your hands and digits.
6. The Table Bender
The table bender doesn’t actually mean that you will end up bending the table. It’s a simple exercise to help alleviate arthritis pain. All you have to do is place the pinky edge of your left hand on the table with your thumb pointed upward. Then hold your thumb in that same position, and then the other four fingers inward. The goal is to have your hand make an L shape. After that, hold it for a couple of seconds, and then straighten out your fingers to move them back into the starting position. It’s best to do this in the morning and on a daily basis. Since the mornings are often the worst for arthritis patients, this exercise can definitely help reduce the morning stiffness to prepare you for the day. You can repeat this exercise at least ten times and do the same thing on your right hand.
7. Stretch Those Wrists
If you live an inactive lifestyle and barely use your hands, your wrist can be very stiff from arthritis. The pain is often exacerbated in the morning and during cold seasons. Fortunately, there are arthritis exercises for your hands and wrist. Plus, these exercises for arthritis hands can help significantly reduce carpal tunnel and tendonitis. All you have to do is hold your right arm out with your palm facing down. Then with your left hand, gently press down the right hand until you feel a comfortable stretch in both your arms and wrist. Make sure to hold this position for a couple of seconds, and then release. The whole purpose of this wrist flexion type exercise is to promote the range of motion and flexibility on your wrist, so it does not cramp up. It also releases the pressure from the median nerve, therefore reduce carpal tunnel that can be exacerbated by arthritis pain. Keep in mind that there are also tendons that run within the wrist, and can get inflamed during an arthritis attack. Fortunately, with this wrist stretching exercise, it prevents the inflammation of the tendon, which could lead to potential tendonitis. Therefore with this useful wrist exercise, you can get a multifaceted benefit that can decrease arthritis symptoms as well as other issues such as carpal tunnel and tendonitis.
8. Claw Stretch
The claw stretch exercise may look scary, but it can definitely help improve your range of motion for your digits. The first step is to hold your hand out in front of you with the palm facing you, then bend your fingers down to touch the base of your finger joints. The best way to know if you’re doing this the right way is to check if your hand looks like a claw. If it does, then that means you are on the right track. After that, hold the position for 30 seconds and release. If you want to maximize the results, then make sure to do this 3 to 4 times a week, and you will witness significant improvement. One of the biggest mistakes that people make is that when their hand is in a claw position, they tend to tense up like crazy. This can be very uncomfortable for your joints. The whole idea is to relax so it can reduce the tension on your hand muscles.
9. The Gripper
This is an essential arthritic exercise because it can strengthen your grip. One of the significant issues with arthritis is that it can weaken your hands. This can cause you to drop objects or have trouble opening the door. Luckily, with this gripper exercise, it can help strengthen your hands so you can hold objects without dropping them or easily turn the doorknob. With the gripper exercise, you will need to find a softball to hold. If you go to a local drugstore, they often have the stress ball for sale, and you can get one of those for the exercise. The first step is to hold a softball in your palm and squeeze it as hard as you can, but not too hard that you cramp up your hands. Hold that for a few seconds and release. For the best results, you want to repeat this 15 times, and do this exercise 2 to 3 times a week. If one of your digits are damage or injury, then avoid the gripper. The great part about this arthritis exercise is that when you squeeze, the pressure will constrict your blood vessels and release signals to your brain. Once you release your hands, the rapid decrease in pressure can signal the brain to release more relaxing chemical signals to maximize blood vessel dilation and muscle relaxation. This can cause instant pleasure, flexibility, and relaxation to improve your range of motion. All of this combined can help reduce arthritis symptoms and strengthen your grip.
10. The Pincher
The pincher exercise emphasizes strengthening the fingers and thumb. This is important because you often use your digits for meticulous functions such as turning the keys, utilizing the gas pump, and opening food packages. You may need to use your fingers for more complex tasks such as sewing or cooking. Fortunately, with this arthritis exercise, it can strengthen your fingers and thumb so it can be more flexible and can perform more intricate tasks. The exercise starts off with a soft foam ball that you could put between the tips of your thumb and finger. Hold the position for 60 seconds, and repeat for 10 seconds on both hands. If you do this exercise three times a week, you will definitely see significant results. Keep in mind that if any of your thumbs or finger is injured, then avoid this exercise because the gripping part can be detrimental for your fingers. With the right mindset and dedication, you will see significant improvement in your joints and arthritis symptoms.
If you have a Gelliflex® Abacus® in your hands, try the following techniques to release tension, restore gliding, hydration, and mobility of muscles and fascia, and improve movement and function in your fingers and thumbs.
- Finger Thumb Squeeze - Try the side squeeze, three-point pinch and tip-to-tip pinch. Learn more by watching this video
- Finger Thumb Roll - Roll your fingers and thumb over one or more gel-balls. Learn more by watching this video
- Finger Thumb Compression - Slowly slide your fingers and thumb forward and back between the ball assemblies. Learn more by watching this video