Rheumatoid Arthritis can make an impact upon the normal lifestyle and daily activities of the person. The inflamed and painful joints can cause depression and anxiety to the patients. Painful joints in the hands will result in delay or inability to complete daily activities that can cause irritation and irrational behaviour. But one has to realise and understand that joint pain is extremely difficult to manage without medical intervention. It is the best move to seek advice from an Occupational Therapist so that pain can be managed and a normal lifestyle is resumed.
The expert will recommend a few medicines, to begin with, the treatment. Exercises also are a part of the treatment plan because these are special and arthritis-friendly exercises that can be executed without much hassle. Initially, the patient may feel slight discomfort but with consistency in exercises, one can reach the goal with ease. So, what is the goal here? The goal is to enable the execution of daily activities with pain management and lifestyle changes.
How are exercises helpful in curbing RA?
RA can result in immobility, depression, and lack of energy. Exercises are strongly recommended by experts to reduce joint pain.
- Exercises are done in moderation to help to achieve mobility of joints and muscles.
- Exercises restore energy levels in the human body.
- With the help of specifically designed exercises for RA, the patients experience flexibility in the body.
- Cardiovascular activity in the human body is improved that helps in preventing heart disease and other complications related to RA.
- The emotional well-being of the person is upped with the help of such exercises. The person starts feeling good when mobility is restored, energy levels are high, and immunity is boosted.
A word of caution: Do not become over-enthusiastic while performing the exercises. Block 10-15 minutes of your daily schedule for exercises in the beginner stage. As and when you feel comfortable, you can increase the time to suit your body needs. It is also advisable to consult an expert before starting the exercise regime.
Exercises and stretches for hand pain suggested by the Occupational Therapy:
Keep your thumb away from your palm and stretch your fingers and palm away from you. Now, move the thumb across the palm and try to touch your little finger’s base. Then move the thumb back to the starting position and repeat 10-15 times or till you feel comfortable.
This exercise is helpful to stretch the metacarpophalangeal joints that get affected due to RA. Make a fist and keep your thumb squeezed against the pointer finger. Now, extend/stretch the fingers and thumb to keep them straight.
Take the smart grip strengthener, MySquegg ball in your hand and squeeze it. The ball is like a squishy ball and is easy to press. The user can perform this exercise as many times in a day as is comfortable. It is a great strength builder, and the user will feel the difference after consistent use of the product for grip training.
But be careful not to squeeze the ball too hard as it can make the user feel a little pain or discomfort in the hand.
Put your forearm on the table and keep a rolled-up towel under your hand to feel comfortable. Now hang your hand, palm down, on the edge of the table. Move the hand down and up in a stretched fashion. Keep repeating the exercise until you can comfortably execute it. The hand therapy exercises will help the patients achieve mobility and strength.
Though the above-mentioned exercises seem simple, yet it is essential to perform these under expert supervision. Once the patient feels comfortable doing the exercises, then these can be performed at the comfort of the home as well.