March 17, 2010

Home Remedies For Swollen Hands

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

Sometimes our fingers may go numb and the pain can spread to the palms and wrists. This causes the hands to swell. Swelling of hands in most cases is the result of carpal tunnel syndrome, which occurs when there is pressure on the nerves that run through the arms. Other causes for swelling in the hands include injury and medications that are taken for kidney problems, lymphatic system issues, or congestive heart failure. Swollen hands can also result when there is excess fluid buildup in the body. Often, there will swelling in the ankles, feet, and legs as well.

Swollen Hands Treatment

Swelling in the hands can be treated once the cause has been identified. While swollen hands can be treated at home, it is best to consult a doctor first so as to overrule any serious underlying condition or illness. In case of a serious injury, you will need medical help and home remedies can only complement the treatment.

Some of the common home remedies for swelling in the hands are as follows.

  • Swelling in hands can be due to certain jobs that require repetitive wrist and hand movements such as sewing, assembly line jobs, typing, writing, or playing musical instruments. If the swelling is a result of such activity, it is important to rest the hands and find ways to do things differently or use splints that support the hands.
  • Using an ice compress helps in reducing pain and swelling in the hands. Wrap ice in a towel before placing it on the hand and never keep it on for more than 20 minutes at a time. Avoid using hot compress as heat can increase the swelling.
  • Keeping the room in moderate temperature as extreme cold or heat can aggravate swelling in hands.
  • Moving your hands and wrists will reduce swelling as the movement improves blood circulation. Shaking your hands and wrists also helps.
  • Elevating the hands above the heart for about 30 minutes every day will improve blood flow to the heart and reduce swelling in the hands. You can also keep the hands elevated using a pillow while sleeping.
  • If edema or swelling in the hands occurs quite often, it can be a sign of a serious illness pertaining to the heart, liver or kidney. It can also occur due to rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism, or a fracture or ligament tear. In such cases, it is best to consult a physician for medical advice.
  • Pregnancy can also cause edema or swelling in hands due to excess fluid retention. This happens mostly during the last trimester as the baby grows, constricting the veins and causing pressure. As a result, the body retains more fluids that accumulate in the hands or legs. If the swelling is extreme and there is a dip when you press on it, seek medical attention. Sometimes, swelling in hands can still persist even after childbirth as the body has not yet adjusted to the new condition. Consult your doctor for advice.
  • In elderly people, swelling in the hands and legs is mostly due to water retention, and the swelling tends to ease out as the days progress. This condition is called idiopathic edema. Mild exercises will help improve the situation and reduce swelling.
  • One home remedy for swelling in the hands involves boiling two teaspoons of barley seeds in two cups of water. This is a natural diuretic, and drinking the strained liquid will help flush out excess fluid through urination. Eating foods that are high in water content like green leafy vegetables, pumpkin, ridge gourd, and other green vegetable also helps flush out toxins and excess fluids.
  • Reduce your intake as salt increases fluid retention. Also, avoid processed foods that can aggravate the swelling in hands.
  • Limit intake of alcohol, fish, meat, and poultry and add more vegetables, fruits and nuts.
  • Doing simple exercises will help improve blood circulation, thereby reducing the swelling. Stretching the hands and rotating the wrists gently improves circulation.

In order to prevent swelling in hands, try making changes in the ways you use the keyboard or musical instrument. Take frequent breaks to rest the hands and wrists. If the condition is unrelenting and painful, you can opt for carpal tunnel release. It is a surgical procedure but it takes several months to heal completely. The surgery cuts the ligament that presses on the nerves that run to the hands.  It is therefore important to rest your hands in case of swelling.

You will have to seek medical attention if the swelling in hands are severe and there is loss of muscle tissues. Use instruments that are designed appropriately and do not trigger swelling in hands. Wrist braces can be used while typing to treat swelling in hands.

Medications that can be used for swelling in hands are ibuprofen or naproxen. Corticosteroid injections are administered to reduce swelling and pain for a certain period of time. As hands and wrists are used frequently, early detection of the reasons for swelling in hands in order to avoid permanent damage to the median nerve.