There are more than 100 different forms of arthritis, and each one is painful and can make daily activities difficult to complete. If you have arthritis in your hands, thumbs, or fingers, many tasks can become impossible to do without pain and frustration from limited movement. Although prescription pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs can help, the side effects can be unpleasant.
However, there are many natural, non-invasive products you can use to relieve arthritis hand pain and regain your mobility. Heated hand mittens, compression gloves, and essential oils are excellent at relieving arthritis hand pain. Today, I’ll show you how to find and mix essential oils, apply them, and use compression gloves to alleviate painful arthritis in the thumbs and fingers.
What essential oils should you use for arthritis hand pain?
Essential oils have been used for centuries for alleviating a variety of health conditions. Current research suggests that turmeric, ginger, peppermint, and basil are the most effective essential oils for relieving painful inflammation and swelling from arthritis in the hands.
Lavender essential oil is also well-known for relieving stress and anxiety. If your arthritis pain has you frazzled, inhaling aromatic lavender essential oil can help lower stress levels. Put a few drops of essential oil on a handkerchief, towel, or cotton ball and inhale for a quick calming effect.
Should you put essential oil directly on the skin?
No. It’s crucial that you dilute the essential oil into a base, or carrier oil before you apply it to the pain site. Essential oils are potent and direct application can irritate the skin. For a carrier oil, you can use one the following:
- Coconut oil
- Jojoba oil
- Olive oil
Also, carrier oils enable you to use less of the more expensive essential oils while still being able to cover a large area. Essential oils are comprised of about 80% aromatic compounds, so most of it will dissipate as soon as it’s applied - if you apply it undiluted. But carrier oils help to trap the aromatic compounds, so you're able to absorb more of the therapeutic properties of the essential oils once they are mixed with a carrier oil.
How should much essential oil should you mix with the base or carrier oil?
A good rule of thumb is to mix twelve drops of essential oil into one ounce of carrier oil before applying the ointment to the pain site. Test the diluted oil mixture first though onto a small area of skin. Wait at least 24 hours to make sure you don’t have any allergic or adverse reaction to the mix. If the test site remains reaction-free, then you can use the mixture for alleviating arthritis pain. It’s safe and most useful to put the diluted oil directly onto the pain site.
How often should you apply essential oils?
Use several small doses throughout the day. A few drops in the morning, in the afternoon, and again at night can offer you frequent, effective pain relief from arthritis.
What’s the best way to absorb essential oils?
One of the most effective ways to use the oil to get arthritis relief in the hands is with heating mitts and compression gloves.
There are many different types of heating mitts for arthritis pain you can purchase on Amazon. Heat therapy will reduce inflammation and swelling, and also improve blood flow. Blood helps deliver vital nutrients to the joints which can prevent further inflammation and swelling. However, you don’t want to keep a heating mitt on for very long. About twenty minutes per day, for two or three times per day is the most effective way to find relief from arthritis pain in the hands and fingers. Massage a few drops of oil into the hands before applying a heated mitt to get the most relief.
What about compression gloves?
Unlike heating mitts, compression gloves are designed to be worn all day and sometimes all night. They keep the hands warm, improve circulation, and relieve swelling. Most styles have the fingertips cut out, so you can continue to do your usual activities without the gloves getting in the way.
Apply your essential oil mixture before putting on the gloves for the day or night can give you added relief. The severity of your arthritis and swelling will determine the amount of compression you’ll need. Severe arthritis will require a higher level of compression to get the necessary therapeutic effects.
If you only need light compression, consider IMAK arthritis gloves. These gloves are made out of cotton and spandex and are a good choice for people with mild to moderate arthritis pain.
Thermoskin makes a 100% latex-free neoprene and polyester arthritis gloves. These gloves are textured to improve grip and are a good choice for people with moderate to severe arthritis pain.
For the most severe arthritis hand pain, Therall arthritis gloves can give you much-needed daytime relief from stiffness and inflammation. They are dense, foam-like, and made out of neoprene. The material is designed to retain the body’s heat to bring added pain relief to aching thumbs, fingers, and wrists.
The good news about neoprene is that it is a thick material that holds its shape over time, but the downside is that these gloves tend to be bulky. If you need to type, write, or sew, these gloves may not be the best choice to wear for those particular activities. You can switch to a lighter-weight compression glove if you have to do any writing or typing.
Living with arthritis doesn’t mean you have to be in pain all the time or subject yourself to unpleasant, prescription drug side effects. To get adequate relief from arthritis pain, try a combination of heat therapy, essential oils, and compression gloves. Different strategies and rotating the devices you use is the most effective way to live pain-free and do the activities you love despite an arthritis diagnosis.