Hand arthritis is painful and disabling. Hand pain, finger pain and wrist pain are among the most common musculoskeletal complaints that doctors see. However, hand pain is often relieved through natural means and products.
Wrist joint pain, finger joint pain and thumb joint pain are all symptoms of arthritis of the hand.
My husband has arthritis in his right thumb, right shoulder and previously had severe knee osteoarthritis. He has controlled pain, swelling, and stiffness naturally, using three natural supplements. He no longer uses non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s). We no longer worry about side effects that could compromise his health.
While arthritis can affect any joint in the body, it’s most debilitating and disabling when it affects the hands and fingers.
The most common types of hand arthritis are:
All are painful and make the activities of daily living difficult.
When you stop to think about how much you use your hands, it's easy to see why the joints of the fingers are so important. The hand and wrist have multiple small joints that work together to produce the fine motion needed for hundreds of tasks. When joints are affected by arthritis, using a toothbrush, tying shoelaces or holding a coffee cup becomes painfully restrictive.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease in which the cartilage in the bone joint surfaces begins to wear out. Osteoarthritis is often called the “wear and tear” disease. Fingers can become enlarged and gnarled, and they may ache or feel stiff and numb.
Osteoarthritis is also caused after an injury to a joint in the hand. There's practically no end to the ways you can hurt your hand and wrists.
Hand arthritis most often occurs in three places:
Early symptoms of osteoarthritis of the hand include joint pain that may feel "dull," or a "burning" sensation. Morning pain, stiffness and swelling are typical symptoms to all forms of hand arthritis.
The pain often occurs after periods of increased joint use, such as heavy gripping of tools. The pain may not reveal itself immediately. It may show up hours later or even the following day.
The thumb is generally considered the most important single digit in the hand. Thumb arthritis symptoms include a deep, aching pain at the base of the thumb. It’s sometimes accompanied by swelling or an observable bump where the thumb joins the wrist.
Grip strength is diminished causing difficulty shaking hands, turning keys or turning jar lids. My husband’s thumb arthritis has been controlled naturally and safely for many years through a combination of natural herbal dietary supplements.
Finger arthritis is also characterized by pain from inflammation and the joint may feel enlarged and warm to the touch. At first, finger joint pain is more noticeable at the beginning of an activity. The pain eases as activity continues. But after resting for several minutes, the pain and stiffness come back. As arthritis progresses, pain may persist even at rest.
Wrist pain, swelling, stiffness, and diminished strength are also signs of wrist osteoarthritis. These symptoms cause limited motion of the wrist.
For most people, arthritis wrist pain relief is successful through natural treatment methods such as those suggested at the end of this article.
Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease that can cause problems throughout your body. It usually starts in small joints in your hand and wrist, leading to:
In the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis the small joints farthest from the center of the body, especially the joints at the base of the fingers and the joints in the middle of the fingers are affected.
Pain and stiffness (especially in the morning and after sitting still for a period of time) occurs in the fingers. The stiffness of rheumatoid hand arthritis differs because it can persist for more than one hour. The affected joints may also be red, warm to the touch, and visibly swollen.
As the disease progresses, the joints often appear deformed and cause the fingers to deviate sideways towards the little finger. This is accompanied by hand weakness and hand pain.
In contrast to some other types of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis usually affects the same joints on both sides of the body simultaneously.
Only doctors can diagnose hand arthritis by examining the hand and taking X-rays. A bone scan may help diagnose arthritis when it’s in an early stage, even if X-rays look normal.
Often, the doctor’s initial prescribed treatment is NSAIDs such as over the counter (OTC) drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen or a prescription drug, such as Celebrex, which is still on the market but is under a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) alert (see section below).
All drugs have side effects, which is a concern to many people (myself included), especially when taken long term. Patients are becoming increasingly concerned about the dependency of drugs for routine medical treatment.
These fears have been fueled by the removal from the market of popularly used blockbuster drugs Vioxx and Bextra. A blockbuster drug has more than $1 billion in sales annually.
Up until 2004 and 2005 conventional drug treatment for hand arthritis and most other arthritis types included blockbuster prescription drugs Vioxx, Bextra and Celebrex.
Under FDA pressure due to side effects, in the fall of 2004, Merck, the maker of Vioxx, an NSAID, issued a worldwide withdrawal halting sales of the drug.
This was followed in April, 2005 when Merck voluntarily withdrew another NSAID, Bextra, from the market and discontinued it due to side effects.
Celebrex, originally approved by the FDA on December 31, 1998, came under fire by the FDA due to side effects and the FDA has issued warning instructions to doctors concerning its use:
Consumers are not alone in their interest in dietary supplements. According to a December, 2007 Healthcare Professionals Impact Study by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), Washington, D.C., “more than three-quarters of U.S. physicians (79%) and nurses (82%) recommend dietary supplements to their patients.”
Some doctors are open to a patient using natural dietary supplement treatment in lieu of NSAIDs for hand arthritis. However, if you’re already taking NSAIDs your doctor may prefer that any natural supplement be taken as an addition to existing drug therapy. The medical profession calls this complementary alternative medicine (CAM).
You should always consult with your doctor if you’re considering a natural dietary supplement. If you’re already taking supplements without the doctor’s knowledge, you should tell him what you’re doing.
Whether you have osteoarthritis or rheumatoid hand arthritis, there are several lifestyle changes you can adopt to minimize symptoms:
Consider these questions:
Either way, there’s one critical issue: find the right natural company!
Don’t settle for hype and silly cure-alls. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Don’t compromise the safety of your health by choosing products that have minimal science and no clinical proof.
Unfortunately, the FDA doesn’t regulate the natural supplement industry like they do the pharmaceutical industry. This means that there's no one making sure that what’s in the product actually has power to produce an effect.
If no one demands such compliance, what makes you think the active ingredients listed are even available for absorption into your body?
Such lack of enforcement encourages the unscrupulous and invites unprincipled, opportunistic companies into the marketplace to make a fast buck.
For the above reasons, doctors are sometimes wary about recommending the use of some natural products. They are further concerned by the hype prevalent in the supplement industry and lack of science in many natural products.
Doctors are also disturbed by the claims many companies make about discovering “secret” ingredients and promising that your pain worries will finally be over.
If doctors are cautious, you should be on guard also. After all, it’s your health and hand arthritis we’re talking about here. Not to mention your money.
While the new current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) final rule by the FDA for dietary supplements (fully implemented June, 2010) requires manufacturers to test the purity and composition of their products, the testing methods to do so lack teeth.
The Wall Street Journal dated June 23, 2007 said: “Consumer advocates criticized the rules as too lax, saying they don’t specify how manufacturers should carry out the tests or adequately address safety problems posed by some supplements.”
Because the new cGMP’s do not require a specific testing method and leave each manufacturer to decide what is appropriate, the question remains whether detection of ingredient contamination has been answered.
Dr. Tod Cooperman, president of ConsumerLab.com, a Westchester, N.Y-based company that independently evaluated hundreds of supplements and periodically publishes reviews, says the new standards leave too many important decisions to the manufacturers, such as which type of testing methods are appropriate.
“The problem is manufacturers often rely on tests that aren’t very specific and can be tricked,” Cooperman said.
The dietary supplement industry’s "gold standard" is clinical pre-market testing of products. Before you get excited about a natural supplement, be sure the manufacturer has gone the extra mile and conducts clinical testing of its products before marketing them (remember, the FDA does not require them to do so; but the best companies do it anyway).
Therefore, don’t be misled by testimonies alone. Testimonies without science are meaningless, due to the placebo affect and because testimonies can be bought and sold.
When solid science is built into products, testimonies are far more meaningful. Look for strong scientific evidence and clinical testing of the product itself. Don't be fooled by advertising copy that quotes clinical studies that were actually done by others separately on the ingredients. You want to be sure that the efficacy of the product you're buying has been proven.
That’s why the results of double-blind, placebo-controlled independent clinical testing is so important. Clinical trials of this nature are the type published in peer-reviewed medical journals.
When a company willingly shows you results of their product clinical studies, you’ve found a winning company with an indisputable track record of integrity and quality.
You must be 100% certain you’ve found a company you can completely trust with your hand arthritis and overall health. That means a company that does quality control tests on the natural raw ingredients and makes products that are safe. One of the criteria is that the products be manufactured “pharmaceutical grade”. This alone eliminates most of the competition, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg when investigating a company.
I’ve prepared a list of 30 questions that led me to the #1 natural nutrition company in the U.S., the only one I trust. If you can find a company that meets all 30 of these standards, like I have, you’ve found a winner. You can now have the best of both worlds: a natural hand arthritis pain relief product made by a company of proven high quality that guarantees results or your money is returned.
From a science foundation, they are an undisputed industry leader. The Shaklee Corporation has been in business since 1956 and has invested more than $250 million in clinical testing, research and development and has over 90 published studies in peer-reviewed scientific journals—more than any other nutritional company!
When investing in dietary supplements for hand arthritis, consider it first as an investment in your health. This way, you won't want to waste your money on poorly formulated or synthetic supplements containing artificial colors, sweeteners, binders, and fillers that will not be readily absorbed into your bloodstream.
Instead, you'll want a high quality natural dietary supplement for your arthritis symptoms with ingredient purity, potency, and guaranteed efficacy that the body's cells will happily absorb.
They are the only natural supplement company that can claim a 20-year clinical dietary supplement landmark study (scroll this linked page) on its consumers that verifies from blood samples that its supplement users retained normal levels of blood pressure, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, C-reactive protein and homocysteine.
The 2006 study was conducted in collaboration with researchers from the U.C. Berkeley School of Public Health, comparing one company's supplement users to people who took either no supplements or other brands of multivitamins from different companies. For details go to:
Increasing numbers of arthritis patients are seeking alternative natural products that provide pain relief, help rebuild cartilage, and promotes restored flexibility in the hand joints.
We use Shaklee's natural topical rub, Joint & Muscle Pain Cream that successfully provides pain relief within a few minutes for my neck arthritis and his thumb and shoulder arthritis.
In tablet form, as a replacement for pharmaceutical painkillers, we also take Shaklee's excellent herbal product, Pain Relief Complex that has great effectiveness with no gastrointestinal side effects whatsoever.
Another Shaklee tablet we take is Advanced Joint Health Complex (scroll linked page for a short video and clinical study results) for joint symptoms like inflammation, swelling, stiffness and restricted motion. This product helps the body build cartilage for joints and promotes comfortable movement, proven in a clinical study in as little as five days. It outperformed the leading market brand, Osteo-Bi-Flex
These two tablet supplements from Shaklee continue to give us progressive results the longer they're used. There is no cure for arthritis. At first, we took more than the daily recommended dosages to safely bring our symptoms under control, with excellent results. After that, we've maintained symptom control of reduced inflammation, swelling and stiffness at consistent levels to help us lead a more comfortable life.
The pain cream product we use only as needed, sporadically. It's great because it penetrates up to four inches and lasts for four hours or more.
For more information and a closer look at what we're using, click on the herbal ingredient links immediately below:
The plant-based properties of Advanced Joint Health Complex are: vegetarian glucosamine and boswellia.
The natural property of Joint & Muscle Pain Cream is menthol.
Each of these ingredients have well-documented benefits researched for effective natural relief of arthritis, including hand arthritis.
When considering these natural ingredients in supplements for hand arthritis, it’s of utmost importance to find the right company so that you can be sure of ingredient purity, potency and efficacy.
For my husband and I, we’ve found the right company for relief of arthritis pain and I confidently recommend each of their pain management products for hand arthritis, whether used individually, or all together as a pain trio.
Note: In treating hand arthritis, a high quality calcium-magnesium supplement is also recommended in a one-month supply from the same company. It's also available in a three month supply.
Hand Arthritis Disclaimer: Health statements on this hand arthritis page have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Joint Pain Relief. Wouldn't it be great if you could have a drug-free future with no harmful side effects and have complete control over your joint pain? And wouldn't it be great if the natural joint pain supplement you used was guaranteed to be completely safe for your health? It's not a dream--all of this is possible. Click here for more on natural joint pain relief
Osteoarthritis Relief. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It affects joints of the knees, hips, fingers, lower spine and neck. Symptoms typically develop gradually. A joint is swollen, sore or stiff at first. Click here for more on osteoarthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis Relief. Many of the natural or herbal supplements for osteoarthritis are also recommended for rheumatoid arthritis. The patient is trying to obtain the same or improved relief from rheumatoid arthritis without gastrointestinal and other side effects related to drugs. Click here for RA natural treatment options
Knee Pain ReliefDuring their lifetimes, an estimated 45 per cent of Americans will develop knee osteoarthritis, the most common kind of arthritis. Increasing numbers of arthritis patients are seeking alternative natural products that provide pain relief and help the body build cartilage and promote comfortable movement of the knee. Click here for more knee joint information.