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7 Home Remedies for Arthritis Hand Pain

by Patty Weasler, RN March 20, 2020 0 Comments

woman wearing arthritis gloves

Choosing the right home remedies for arthritis in hands can be an effective first line of defense against symptoms like pain, stiffness, and swelling. Finding the right home treatment for you can help protect joints in the hand, and make life more enjoyable on a day to day basis. Take a look at this article to find how you can use home remedies to manage your arthritis today.

1. Pain Medications

Managing arthritis pain at home with an over-the-counter pain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen (Advil) can provide pain relief and decrease joint swelling. NSAIDs can be taken regularly but you should be aware that they do carry side effects, like stomach ulcers, if taken to for too long. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is another good choice for pain relief but it won’t offer any of the anti-inflammatory benefits like ibuprofen.

Medications for Rheumatoid Arthritis

There are multiple prescription medications available for the different types of arthritis. For those who have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), methotrexate is a drug that can slow the disease progression and help manage symptoms. Steroids are another option for some people who suffer from arthritis. Talk to your doctor to determine if a prescription drug can help manage your arthritis symptoms.

2. Splinting

A hand splint for arthritis can help ease pain and swelling. The splint will immobilize your hand, protecting your hand joints. An arthritis glove is a similar device that doesn’t prevent movement but gives added compression. The compression helps to reduce swelling and pain and can be worn for a longer duration than a splint. If you choose to go with a splint give your hand plenty of breaks to prevent your hands from becoming too stiff from the lack of movement.   

3. Hot and Cold Therapy

Hot and cold therapy are two very different but effective home remedies for arthritis pain. Heat causes blood vessels to widen, comforting aching muscles and joints. Whereas cold tightens the vessels, numbing the area.

Heat Therapy

Heat soothes sore muscles and joints, bringing in an overall sense of relaxation and comfort. People who suffer from arthritis may find that using heat reduces their pain, letting them be more active each day. Here is a list of specific benefits that heat can provide.

  • Improves circulation
  • Soothes sore muscles and joints
  • Brings more nutrients and oxygen to the area
  • Minimizes pain

Types of Heat Therapy

There are several ways to deliver heat therapy to your affected joint. Some of your options you will have sitting right in your own home, others you might have to purchase. Check out our list to help you manage your joint pain.

  • Warm towel
  • Electric heating pad
  • Hot water bottle
  • Warm bath

Cold Therapy

Cold therapy numbs pain and reduces swelling. Using cold therapy for 20-minute intervals with a protective cloth between you and the cold source is recommended to prevent skin irritation or damage. Here’s a list of all the benefits of cold therapy.

  • Less inflammation
  • Decreased pain
  • Reduce muscle spasm

Types of Cold Therapy

When you’re deciding which type of cold therapy to use it’s important to think about when and how you’ll be using it. Things like portability and coverage should be something you consider when choosing a product. Here is a list of types of cold therapy you can pick from.

  • Ice pack
  • Tube of ice water
  • Reusable gel cold pack

4. Capsaicin Cream

Capsaicin is a chili pepper extract that also has pain-relieving properties. When capsaicin is in creams and ointments it makes a tingling sensation that blocks pain transmission to the brain. It’s an effective home remedy for treating arthritis joint pain that can be used just about anywhere. The cream can feel like it is burning the skin, if the sensation is too strong then you should remove the cream.

5. Massage

When you are evaluating treatment options for arthritis finding one that fits your lifestyle, budget, and health goals should be a priority. Massage is one remedy that tends to fit almost everyone’s goals. Regular massage can soothe your muscles and joints, lower cortisol levels, and raise serotonin levels. This will reduce pain and let you enjoy your everyday activities. You can perform self-massage at home or go to a massage therapist for treatment.

Massage can be especially effective when used in conjunction with a selection of arthritis hand exercises.

6. TENS Therapy

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) uses electrical currents to interrupt the pain signal and release endorphins which provide additional pain relief. TENS units are small, portable devices that can be used just about anywhere. The electrical signal from the TENS unit is transmitted through wires and into electrode stickers that are placed on the skin. The level of electricity that is used can be adjusted, allowing you to customize your level of pain relief.

7. Natural Remedies

Natural remedies won’t take the place of regular care from your doctor and prescribed medications but they can help manage your symptoms and help toward arthritis prevention. Here are a few natural remedies you can try at home.

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids

    Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to reduce your chances of heart disease, lower chances of depression and help manage rheumatoid arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in the body. It can reduce the stiffness and pain that comes along with arthritis. Aim for a diet that contains foods high in Omega-3 like salmon, nuts, flaxseed, and walnuts.

  • Chondroitin and Glucosamine

    Chondroitin is a chemical that is found in cartilage and bone. It prevents cartilage break down and promotes joint shock absorbency. Glucosamine is a chemical that manages the cartilage’s growth and repair. Taking a chondroitin and glucosamine supplement has been shown to help reduce arthritis pain, stiffness, and swelling.

  • Turmeric

    If you like curry, then using turmeric as a natural arthritis remedy may come naturally to you. Curcumin is a substance found in the turmeric spice that gives it its anti-inflammatory properties. It has been shown to help multiple conditions, including arthritis. Add a bit of turmeric to your diet and reduce arthritis pain and inflammation similar to how an NSAID works.

Safe and Effective Home Remedies for Arthritis in Hands

The pain and swelling caused by arthritis in the hands can be debilitating. Adding home remedies in conjunction with your regular treatment plan can be a safe and effective way to fight symptoms and enjoy your favorite activities. Always talk to your doctor before you start a new arthritis treatment.




Patty Weasler, RN
Patty Weasler, RN

Patty Weasler is a freelance health writer and nurse. She is certified in critical care nursing and has been practicing for over 10 years. Patty lives in Milwaukee, WI with her husband and three children. She enjoys spending her time with family and educating people about their health.

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