Hand splints for painful joints in the hands, at least that is what a new review of medical literature is stating.
It was also noted hand exercises could help however, the evidence is not substantial so far.
One in eight men and one in four women aged 70 or older have osteoarthritis or referred to as degenerative arthritis in their hands. The condition is painful and limits use of hands due to swelling, bone growths and cartilage disintegration.
A lot of people who have this disease seek relief from pain by using anti-inflammatory medications or OTC medications(over-the-counter) like Tylenol and ibuprofen. Along with other treatments offered such as rest, hot and cold therapy and hard or soft splints.
Dr. Ingvild Kjeken, Ph.D. Department of Rheumatology at Diakonhjemmet Hospital in Oslo, Norway and associates, had observed that patients in their clinic had received remarked in decreased pain from thumb splints. These splints are designed to support and immobilize joints.
They set out to summarize the data to obtain better knowledge of what could possibly decrease symptoms and improve functioning in people with osteoarthritis in the hands.
Researchers had analyzed twelve studies totaling nearly 500 patients, with all of them testing the outcomes of hand splints, exercises or both combined.
Even though impressed differences between the splints and exercise program had limited comparisons, the could still obtain information on what had worked.
Short and rigid splints, had reduced pain by half after using them for six months, according to one high quality study. Another study had found hand pain was decreased by half for those patients that wore long and rigid splints for one year each night. Using them just one month at nighttime had decreased the pain by one quarter.
The splints most of the time did not improve functioning or strength in hands.
Researchers concluded that splints carry about the same outcome as anti-inflammatory medications. The price tag on these splint vary from around $25 for a prefabricated version up to $100 if the splint is custom made. OTC medication like ibuprofen, the most common used medication, costs around $10 a month.
Further testing is required to find out if the additional improvement is above what the medications provide or if just using splints for pain decrease is sufficient on its own.
It is still not certain how these splints reduce pain. Researchers believe that one possibility may be that the splints give support to inflamed joints or slow down the rate of deformities.
Dr. Kjeken states there is sound evidence that splints decrease hand pain. One excellent routine may be using a small splint for decreasing pain during the daytime and use a custom-made rigid splint at nighttime.
The other side of the information had shown exercises were not as effective. This left researchers without being able to determine the effectiveness of exercises could decrease pain or enhance functioning.
Some indistinct studies did suggest a possible benefit. Dr. Kjeken did note that patients should do repetitions of various exercises to enhance both joint mobility and strength for a minimum at twenty minutes at the rate of three times a week.
Dr. Kjeken does caution since there is a risk of the development for deformities in the base joint of the thumb, excessive exercises should be avoided to improve pinch or grip strength. Exercises should include those which strengthen the muscles which are involved in the opening of the hand to make it possible to grip large objects.
Treatments should be individualized and closely observed especially when first starting treatments.
There are some natural therapies which also could help:
In a recent survey conducted 63% of people suffering with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia seek out alternative treatments and 73% who used chiropractic care found it had helped them with their arthritis.
People with osteoarthritis (Degenerative Joint Disease) usually have joints that are subluxated or locked into place due to cartilage breaking down. Specific chiropractic techniques can alleviate pain and help keep functioning by regular treatment visits.
Chiropractor also can use additional treatments such as nutritional, herbal, exercise therapy and electric stimulation therapy.
In a study conducted on the use of acupuncture and arthritis pain, patients were evaluated at 4,8, 14 and 26 weeks. The findings had shown that at eight weeks patients had a remarked increase in joint functioning and by week 14 had a remarked decrease in pain.
Strength exercises using weights or exercise bands build strong muscle to help support and protect the joints.
Aerobic exercise which is low impact have been shown to aide in reducing inflammation in the joints.
MSM provides a natural sulfur that joints need for health.
Boron supplement are essential due to low levels of boron being linked with higher rates of osteoarthritis.
Devils claw extract is widely used in Europe due to its effectiveness in providing pain relief, decreased inflammation and enhanced functioning.
Boswellia is an anti-inflammatory herb. It reduces inflammation and the degradation of compounds that rebuild joints.
Bromelain is an effective anti-inflammatory for joint and pain swelling.
Arthritis In Hands