Yes, I am ninety nine percent certain that I have arthritis in the joints of my fingers. No, I haven't seen my physician, yet. I do intend on doing so if this current flare-up continues. Why do I think I have arthritis in my fingers? I am exhibiting a number of symptoms.
• My fingers swell
• I feel pain in my fingers
• This pain increases a bit when I use my fingers
• When my fingers are at rest they begin to become stiff, especially at night when I am sleeping
• They feel slightly warm, indicating that they are inflamed
• Over the counter pain medication is helping to ease these symptoms.
Arthritis also runs in my family, both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. I am not sure which type I am having, yet. If it continues, I will consult my physician on her opinion of this.
Rheumatoid arthritis worries me the most. I know it is a long term type of arthritis. I also know that it can eventually affect many organs if left untreated. Other symptoms that can go along with rheumatoid arthritis are fatigue, weakness, inflammation and morning stiffness.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It can cause inflammation and pain around the joints, especially after activity.
What I have learned is how to handle this pain a little. This is what I wanted to share with others who may be just starting to develop pain in their fingers.
• Spread out your workload. If you can try to spread out your work so that you aren't straining your fingers for a prolong period of time. Since I am a writer, who does a lot of typing, I try to spread out my work throughout the day. This gives my fingers a chance to rest. If you can't spread out your work, try to at least to find a way to take a small break every half hour or so.
• Exercise your fingers: Yes, rest is good for your fingers. Yet, you need to exercise them, too. When I am not working, I try to keep stretching them by making a fist and then releasing it many, many times throughout the day. This helps to keep my fingers from becoming stiff. I even purchased some tiny toy balls from the party section of our local Dollar store. I just place a ball in my hand and grasp it. Then release it. I do this off and on throughout the day. It does help the stiffness.
• Allow others to help you. If you find a chore hurts you to do it, ask others for help.
• If one hand hurts more than the other, learn to use the other hand more. My right fingers hurt. I am right handed. Yet, I am learning to use my left hand.
• Love your scissors. Use them to open packages. This saves you a lot of finger stress.
• Never open soda cans with your fingers. Use a utensil instead.
• Try using some rubs such as Aspirin cream on your joints to relieve your pain. This can help you steer clear from taking some many pain pills. Take the time to actually massage the cream into each joint. It will feel good.
• If you have a honey with good hands, ask him or her to massage your fingers. Sometimes a loved one will have a softer touch than you will.
• Watch how you carry those grocery bags. Don't allow the plastic handles to hurt your sore fingers and remember to carry the heaviest load with your strongest hand.
Finally, I did do one thing that I do not recommend trying. I tried soaking my hand in Epsom salts and warm water. For some reason, this made my fingers tighter and ultimately hurt more for a few hours.
Yes, I am learning how to deal with what I believe is arthritis in my fingers. Yet, like me, if your pain continues, you must visit your physician. I plan to do so really soon.