More than once, Mom’s doctor has said that she ought to be in a medical journal. It’s flattering to be a great example, but not exactly what you want when the subject is Osteoarthritis in the hands, and he’s referring to the painful deformity it has caused her. The swelling of the joints closest to the fingertips are called Heberden’s nodes, and those in the middle joint of the finger are Bouchard’s nodes, both are a little something extra that sometimes comes along with arthritis in the hands.
It’s amazing she can still use her hands at all, really. She still ties shoelaces, brushes her hair and teeth, and writes notes on notepads. With her unfailing sense of humor, she points across the room at something she needs, realizes that the end of her finger is pointing almost sideways instead of straight ahead at the thing she needs…she looks at her finger, back and me, and says “you figure it out!” and then laughs.
There are various medications and supplements that can help ease the pain, but no real cures. And when it gets to management of the pain and stiffness, one of the Arthritis Foundation recommendations that they say is “tried and true” are hot and cold treatments. They say that heat may be more useful for chronic pain, and cold or ice packs may provide relief from more severe pain.
It has taken years for her hands to get this bad, and I so wish that the products we have found for the Hot and Cold Company had been available to her years ago.
In earlier stages of the condition, Mom’s doctor suggested that hot paraffin bath treatments could help her, as it provides penetrating heat that can help ease stiff joints. She invested in a paraffin bath and used it several times. But the fact was it was always a major project to use it and so it ended up sitting unused on the shelf in her closet.
We just introduced a new product at the Hot and Cold Co that is an innovation in hot paraffin treatment, with paraffin wax, coconut and lavender oils embedded right in a glove (or bootie for a foot treatment). Two minutes in a microwave and it is ready for use. Designed for deep moisturizing (as the paraffin bath was), it also provides the penetrating heat benefit with much less effort than the hot paraffin bath appliance. Each glove and bootie can be used up to four times (Darn - this product is not currently available as the manufacturer is sold out - we'll keep you posted!).
For both hot and cold treatments, we have another option, our Comfort Mitts. They can be microwaved for heat, or stored in the freezer to soothe with the perfect chill when needed. With an inner layer filled with a mix of flaxseed and aromatherapy herbs, these are easy to slip on any time you need relief, and can be reused as many times as you want.
Yes, Osteoarthritis can be genetic, and yes, I’ll be making my own first trip to a rheumatologist soon, as I really can’t deny the early stages of stiffness and pain in my knuckles. At least I know I’ll have some great hot and cold therapy tools to help.