Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Health Tips for February 17

Health Tip: When Arthritis Affects the Hands

Arthritis in the hands can make it difficult to perform everyday tasks. While the condition can be managed with proper medical care, first you must recognize its common warning signs.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers this list:

  • Dull or burning pain in the fingers and hands, especially after you've been holding tightly to an object for an extended period.
  • Swelling and warmth in and around the joints.
  • A feeling of being able to move the joints less easily.
  • A feeling that the joints in your hand are grinding together.
  • A feeling that your joints are loose, or not as stable as they once were.
  • Cysts, or small bumps that appear around the joints of the fingers.

Health Tip: Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the joints. Remedies may include lifestyle changes, medication and surgery designed to help control pain and minimize joint damage.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine offers this list of possible treatments for rheumatoid arthritis:

  • Range-of-motion exercises and other exercise routines devised by a physical therapist can help prevent or delay joint damage.
  • Splints, braces and other supportive devices can help protect the joints.
  • Heat or cold treatments can help ease pain and inflammation.
  • Working with a physical therapist can help you learn how to protect your joints during daily activities and tasks, and how to use your joints when your arthritis is causing pain.
  • Getting at least eight hours sleep at night and taking frequent rests during strenuous activities are recommended to ease joint stress.

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