Arthritis is a condition that affects the tissues present in various joints of the body. In many cases, arthritis attacks the lining of joints or the cartilage present in joints. Cartilage is a connective tissue that is present at joints, where two bones meet. In individuals with arthritis, the cartilage starts breaking down, exposing the ends of the bones meeting at the joint. As a result, the bones start to rub against each other and wear away.
The hand contains several joints, such as the wrist, the knuckles, the base of the thumb, and the second and top joints of the fingers. All of these are common sites for arthritis. Hand arthritis can result in pain, stiffness, and deformity of the hands. Progression of the condition can make even everyday tasks difficult.
Types of arthritis that affect the hands
Several types of arthritis can affect the hands, but the three most common ones are
- Osteoarthritis: It is also called degenerative arthritis and causes breakdown and wearing of the cartilage. Osteoarthritis commonly affects the wrist, the joint at the base of the thumb, and the middle and top finger joints. Long-term exposure to osteoarthritis can cause bony lumps to form in finger joints.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: It is a chronic, inflammatory, auto-immune disease that causes swelling of the synovium. The synovium produces the fluid that constitutes the lining of the joints. It works as a lubricant allowing cartilage to easily slide against each other. The inflammation damages the cartilage, and then the bone starts eroding itself. As a result, joints can lose their alignment and shape.
Rheumatoid arthritis commonly affects the small joints present in the wrists, hands, and fingers and is usually symmetric, i.e.; it affects the same joints on either side of the body.
- Psoriatic arthritis: It is a kind of arthritis that affects both the skin and the joints. It generally results in swollen fingers, joint pain, and morning stiffness.
Symptoms of hand arthritis
Some early symptoms are:
- Dull or burning joint pain,
- Morning pain or stiffness in the hand(s), and
- Swollen joints in the hand(s).
Later symptoms can include:
- Recurring symptoms of pain, stiffness, and swollen joints
- Pain may change from dull to sharp
- Inability to fully open and close fingers.
- The pain may affect how you use your hand(s).
- Tissue surrounding affected joints becomes red and tender to touch.
- Bony nodules form on the top or middle joints of the fingers.
- Finger joints become large and deformed or abnormally bent.
- Grating, grinding or clicking when bending your fingers.
Home remedies for hand arthritis
Some home remedies recommended for treating hand arthritis include:
- Hand exercises as recommended by a doctor can help retain flexibility in the ligaments and tendons of the hands and also reduce pain.
- According to the Arthritis Foundation, applying hot and cold packs can also help relieve pain.
- Capsaicin is made from a compound of cayenne pepper to deal with pain.
- Ayurvedic doctors may prescribe Vijaya or medical cannabis in the form of a herbal compound called Bilwadi churna. Bilwadi churna contains other ingredients like Bel, Mochras, Dhar, and Saunf and is a prominent ingredient in this Ayurvedic cannabis solution.
Leveraging Vijaya for hand arthritis
Vijaya or Medical Cannabis has been used as a form of pain relief in Ayurvedic medicine dating back to ancient times. Vijaya is made up of various cannabinoids, one of which is called CBD. Various studies have shown how CBD works as an effective pain reliever to alleviate symptoms of arthritis and joint pain.
A medical study published by the Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research concluded that 36% of respondents who used CBD to treat symptomatic pain found it effective. It was found that CBD interacts with the ECS by inhibiting the sensation of pain. The ECS regulates various processes, including sleep, pain control, mood, appetite, memory, and emotional and immune responses.
Research suggests that CBD affects the activity in the endocannabinoid receptors and hence, reduces inflammation. Since CBD has a similar chemical composition (provided that the level of THC along with it is less than 0.3%) to the endocannabinoids present in the body, it can interact with the ECS receptors to affect the release of neurotransmitters to the brain. In addition to pain relief,
Vijaya can also help tackle other neurological symptoms that patients who have arthritis also have to deal with, such as anxiety and insomnia. Studies have found that CBD can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality.
Hempstreet offers Ayurvedic medicine in the form of Trailokya Vijaya Vati, which contains Vijaya as the key ingredient. Trailokya Vijaya Vati has a wide range of benefits, including curbed insomnia and anxiety, along with pain relief. It is, however, advisable to consult an Ayurvedic doctor and take recommended dosages to combat symptoms of arthritis.