Ow, my hands!

I first started noticing arthritic symptoms in my hands (thumb joints, mostly) at the age of 28, about 6 years ago. It’s inherited, I’m afraid, my father’s hands are so twisted that he even has trouble feeding himself now at the age of 84. After draaaaaaagging myself to the halfway point on this darn baby blanket,** I regained my momentum yesterday with over 3000 stitches on it. Today, my hands HURT! In the past, I was constantly in a cold environment and I typed a lot. So I’m bundling up. Does anyone have any other suggestions to ease symptoms?

They also react to changes in weather, and I just heard that we have a winter storm/ice storm warning for tonight. The pressure hasn’t dropped too far yet (or maybe my barometer needs tweeking) so I don’t think that’s it, although I’m hoping.

**I know, I know, I keep complaining about it, but it’s a gift, and needs to get done. I’ve learned a lot about needles and yarns and what I like with it, so it’s worth it.

Can you take an NSAID (such as Aleve or Advil) before you knit? The repetitive motions might be causing some inflammation which is the problem with arthritis anyway. Maybe some fingerless mitts might be in order to keep your hands toasty while you’re working?
I hope you find a solution! Good luck.

There are those special mitts to help support your hands while you do handwork – they go by various names, usually something like “craft gloves”. If you search for “craft gloves” at Joann’s website, you get five different brands… i’ve no idea if they’d help you…but might be worth a try!

I was going through a real rough spell with aching hands. Didn’t think there was much I could do about it, other than taking aspirin, etc. Went to a craft show, of all places, and picked up a carton of 100% natural African Shea butter. I bought it just for cosmetic reasons~ hands were looking pretty dry. I usually apply it right before bed. One night, my hands were particularly achy. I applied it because my hands were dry and and poof, the next morning, no more ache! It was like a miracle. I read the little description that came with the carton and lo and behold, not only is it for dry skin but for "pain relief from swelling and arthritis; improves muscle relaxation and stiffness."
It is made from the nut of the African Shea Tree. Here is a web site:
I don’t know if this is the best place to get it. I still have mine from the craft show. You might want to google it to see if you can get a better deal. It’s WONDERFUL!!!


I love shea butter! There’s two types though (coming from two different trees in two different countries), and people have their personal preferences as to which they like better.

Shea butter is also terrific as the base for great skin creams. I have one I made with myrhh, shea butter, and coconut oil. Queen Esther and I have the same beautician. :slight_smile:

Sorry to hear of your hand pain, Shea butter is wonderful. I am a massage therapist, I make all my own lotions, using Shea butter as part of my base. It is very healing. I have noticed that diet can have an impact on arthritis pain as well, nIghtshade plants, like peppers, eggplant and tomatoes( to name just a few) contribute greatly to inflammation. I have inflammation issues and find that cutting down or at times, eliminating tomatoes, has really helped. There are essential oils out there that can help with pain and inflammation as well. Two that I commonly use are ginger and Roman Chamomile. When using an essential oil mix it with a carrier oil, and remember a few drops go a long ways. (melted shea butter would be a great carrier, but keep in mind that shea butter will crystalize when heated above 150 degrees. It won’t hurt the shea butter, it will just feel gritty until it is rubbed in. Add the essential oil after melting the shea butter.) There are some great books out there about essential oils and the uses they have, one is" Aromatherapy and Essential Oils" by Valerie Wormwood. It has “recipes” for blending oils, how much to use for what etc. You can probably find a used copy on amazon for a reasonable price. You might also want to try a good hot water/epsom salt soak for you hands before and after knitting. Try and give your hands a nice gentle massage each day as well. Hope some of that helps.

Thanks - I didn’t think that shea butter was that good at fighting inflammation. I’ve “made my own lotion” with the kits from the crafts store - lotion base plus cocoa butter, shea butter, and Vitamin E, with almond oil for scent.

Turns out it was the weather - no pain whatsoever today. Argh!

Wow! I had no idea that Shea Butter had this property!!! I use a product that has shea butter in it (avon so not 100% shea butter) and it does help. I just thought it was the massaging I do when I put it on. I’m going to check out that website and see about getting some 100% stuff. I’ll try anything at this point. Thanks so much for this information!!!:muah:

Trish-any chance you could see a rheumatologist? (Or barring that have you just seen a regular MD)? My husband has some pretty severe arthritis and takes prednisone for it and it helps a lot. Although in the interest of full disclosure, predinisone causes issues of its own, mainly bone loss so you HAVE to take calcium supplements with it. But the pain relief for him has been worth it. He also gets a cortisone shot (in the rear, not in a specific location) when he’s having a severe flare up of pain.

Hope you’re feeling better soon. :hug:

Oh yeah–and on the natural remedies side of it–you might try getting some arnica gel. Arnica is a natural herbal pain reliever and I have found it useful for muscle aches. It may help your joints.

I agree…you really should see a rheumatologist. From the description you gave of your father’s condition, sounds like he has rheumatoid (vs. osteo) arthritis, and it can run in families. My mom has it and so do I. The good news is, if you start treatment early, you can prevent/limit the joint damage that results in the “twisted fingers” syndrome. My mom’s fingers no longer lay flat, they overlap each other as they curve to the right. Hence, I started agressive treatment as soon as I was diagnosed. There are several possible treatments that can be customized to the severity of your condition. You know what they say about an ounce of prevention! In the meantime, you might try an over-the-counter product called Thera-gesic. It works well for me. It’s a cream you rub in that alleviates the pain. Sometimes it’s the only thing that let’s me knit. Good luck!

Argh! I thought it was early-onset osteo. Dad was mostly fine until his 70s, there was no deformation and little pain.

My docs… if you’ve ever seen military medicine, it’s reasonably good for common ailments, but not so hot for anything unusual. I have a herniated disk in my back as well, and was told that the constant low-grade nerve/muscle pain I was having was arthritis. Of course, after 7 months of pain with a nasty muscle spasm flare-up at the end of October, it quit on the 21st of December, and I’ve been pain-free for a month now.

Argh, I’ll ask my doc next time I see him, although I suspect he’ll pooh-pooh me.

When you say low-grade muscle pain, spasm, and flare up, fibromyalgia pops into my head. Unfortunately, this is a diagnosis that some doctors don’t believe in, but it’s real. I know, because me, my brother and my mom all have it. And you can have it in combination with other disorders. You should read up on it.

After reading this post I ordered some unrefined raw shea butter from sheabutterhut.com. It arrived yesterday, so I don’t yet know how effective it is for arthritis, but it SURELY makes my hands feel soft!!
I have 3 one-pound tubs, though, so I’m wondering if it needs to be refrigerated, since y ou only use a tiny bit. Any ideas?

I just googled about whether to refrigerate or not and got answers both ways at several different links. If I were you, I’d email the sellers and ask them. If you do end up doing that and get a response from them, let us know what the answer is if you get a chance, ok?


Will do.

I spoke to the man at SheaButterHut today about refrigerating the raw, unrefined shea butter. He said it was not necessary and that the shelf life was 18-24 months.
I think it is helping my arthritic knees some. It may all be in my head, but if that is the case I don’t care. Just so they feel better!! It is great for my hands and feet anyway.

Thanks for writing back with the info! Glad it’s helping you. I know it does miracles for my aching hands. I always apply it at night to give it plenty of uninterrupted time to work.

Thanks again,

I’m sorry you have to go through that pain. I don’t have any cartilage in my neck it’s all arthritis. I’m 32 and it started 6 yrs ago. I FEEL your pain. The winter storms don’t help much here either. Do you have a doctor that can give your meds? I don’t know if over the counter meds would work.

I hope you feel better!

Gosh, Heather, you’re so young to have arthritis. I hope you have something to help you. I"m taking Celebrex which helps, but doesn’t completely do away with the pain. This shea butter has helped a lot. Plus it makes my skin feel great.

I just use the pain meds that I have for another condition. What is shea butter?