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January 25, 2023

Relieving Hand and Finger Joint Pain in Pregnancy: Expert Advice and Self-Care Strategies

By:
iMumz Expert Panel
Tried to open a jar of nuts and your fingers felt stiff? An odd ache seems to have appeared in your wrists? Don’t worry - it happens to many pregnant women.
Verified by:
iMumz Expert Panel
|
Updated on:
January 10, 2023

Pregnancy can bring about many changes in a woman's body, including joint pain. Hand and finger joint pain is a common complaint during pregnancy, and can be caused by a number of factors. In this article, we will explore the causes of hand and finger joint pain during pregnancy and discuss some remedies to help ease the discomfort.

What are the causes of hand and finger joint pain in pregnancy?

Cause 1: The Connection Between Hormones and Hand Pain During Pregnancy

One of the main causes of this pain are your pregnancy-induced hormonal changes. During pregnancy, your body produces a hormone called relaxin. This hormone helps prepare your pelvic muscles and tendons for pregnancy by stretching and relaxing them. Since this hormone travels freely all over your body, it can cause joint pain in other parts of your body, including your hands and fingers. The hormone progesterone also plays a role by loosening the joints.

Cause 2:  The Truth About Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Pregnancy

Other than loosening your joints, during pregnancy, hormones also cause you to retain fluids.  

When this happens, the nerve running through the tunnel around them may become squashed which can cause symptoms like pins and needles, numbness and stiff painful hands. This is called carpal tunnel syndrome.  The symptoms are pins and needles or tingling, numbness, pain, which may be worse at night, burning sensation in fingers, sharp pain in wrist that might even go up the arm to the shoulders.

Cause 3: Arthritis and Pregnancy Finger and Joint Pain in Pregnancy

Arthritis is a condition in which the joints become inflamed. Some studies show that pregnancy hormones can trigger arthritis. Make sure you take care of your wrist and fingers by:

  • Taking frequent breaks from repetitive tasks.
  • Wearing a wrist splint to keep your wrist straight, usually just at night.
  • Doing exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles in the hand and arm.

 

 

Hot and Cold therapy: What to do and what not.

The usual hot or cold therapy that our grandmothers recommend is helpful.  Just note these important points:

  • Applying heat or ice to the affected area can help to reduce pain and inflammation. For heat,  take a long, warm shower, use a moist heating pad to reduce discomfort overnight.
  • Cold treatments can help relieve joint pain, swelling, and inflammation. Wrap a gel ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables in a towel and apply it to painful joints for quick relief. Never apply ice directly to the skin.

What are yoga/mudra suggestions for relief of hand and finger joint pain?

A recent study showed that mindful meditation  could boost immunity and reduce inflammation. A total of 51 participants took part in the study, 26 of whom completed an 8-week program of mindful meditation while the remaining 25 received no treatment. 

Participants who practiced  mindful meditation showed a reduction in arthritic symptoms, including pain, early morning stiffness, and the number of tender and swollen joints.

Here are some amazing stretches that you can do to relieve pain in joints and finger while sitting in Sukhasana:

Manibandha Sanchalan – Wrist Movements 

Wrist rotation-supported

  • Hold the right wrist with the left hand. 
  • Make a fist with the right hand and slowly rotate the hand, keeping the wrist stable. 
  • Repeat in the other direction and with the other hand. For best results, play soothing music and breathe to the rhythm, deeply and consciously. 
  • This will slow the movement and increase your awareness. Practice one rotation for one breath.

Wrist movements-up and down

  • Raise the arms in front of the body.
  • Inhale, turning the backs of the hands towards the body. Exhale and turn the palms downward. 
  • Continue the movement with rhythmic breathing. 

Wrist rotations 

  • Raise the arms in front of the body. 
  • Make fists with the hands and slowly start rotating, keeping the arms stable. 
  • Rotate the hands in both directions. 
  • Continue breathing to the soft, gentle rhythm.

Fingertip pressing 

  • Hold out hands in front of you, palms facing each other.
  • Press the fingertips together firmly, then release. 
  • Repeat as many times as desired. 

Finger pressing 

  • Instead of fingertips as described in the above, in this stretch.
  • Press the entire length of fingers together firmly, then release. 
  • Repeat as many times as desired.

Palm pressing

  • Press the palms together firmly, then release. 
  • Repeat as many times as desired.

Mushtika Bandhan – Hand Clenching  

  • Sit down comfortably with your back straight. 
  • In this sitting position, raise the arms in front of the chest. 
  • Inhaling open the hands as much as you can, separating the fingers. 
  • Exhale and clench the hands together, making fists. 
  • Continue the movement with rhythmic breathing for about five sets of three each.

Sitting Parvatasan – Mountain Pose  

  • Sit in any comfortable meditative pose like Sukhasana. 
  • Extend both hands in front of the body, palms facing inwards and interlock the fingers. 
  • Raise the arms over the head, turning the hands so the palms face outwards. 
  • Stretch the body upwards and turn your gaze upwards, to look at your hands. 
  • Continue to maintain the asana, breathing normally.  

What are some dietary changes that can reduce finger and hand joint pain in pregnancy?

Diet can play an important role. Let’s look at it one-by-one:

Let’s tackle inflammation first.

Weight gain during pregnancy happens throughout the body and as a by-product inflammation is caused, leading to aching joints. This can be soothed with a good intake of antioxidants in the diet. Here is a list of good sources of antioxidants:

  • Amla (Indian Gooseberry)
  • Bael Fruit (Amrit Fruit)
  • Apricots (Khumani)
  • Grapes
  • Beetroot
  • Spinach
  • Cow’s ghee
  • Microgreens
  • Barley Flour
  • Kidney beans (Rajma)

Hormonal changes:

We discussed how Relaxin and Progesterone are loosening your joints in pregnancy. Foods rich in cellulose can help in strengthening the ligaments and alleviate the pain.

  • Root and leafy vegetables, especially green beans
  • Carrots
  • Dals and pulses
  • Pears and apples
  • Avocados and berries

Lack of fluid/ moisture in the body:

Any two bone joints are held in place by the presence of synovial fluid in between the bones which provides a cushioning effect to the joints. When fluid is less, there is a friction between the bones leading to inflammation and pain. 

Drink a minimum of 2.5-3 liters of water everyday.

Add fluids that are rich in electrolytes like coconut water, lemonade, ginger ale, buttermilk  can also be excellent additions to help improve the fluid intake in the body. Ghee is also a great source that helps improve moisture level of the body too.

Omega-3s:

Including foods rich in omega-3s in your diet and/or taking an omega-3 supplement for managing the stiffness.

Curcumin:

It is a component present in turmeric which is a powerful antioxidant, adding natural sources of turmeric or even a doctor/ nutritionist advised curcumin tablet can help relieve the pain.

Cruciferous vegetables:

Including cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli etc can help for joint pain as they have sulforaphane, an antioxidant that has the ability to prevent joint pains. Make sure to cook them well and add in the diet.

Ginger:

One of the most potent anti-inflammatory ingredients in the kitchen, a soothing ginger tea can be relaxing for the joints.

Collagen:

Collagen is key to joint strength and there are some foods that can help increase the collagen production in the body. Vitamin C rich citrus fruits like orange, sweet lime, cashews, berries, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables are some foods that can improve collagen and hence help reduce pain.  

What are some Ayurvedic remedies for relief in finger and hand joint pain in pregnancy?

  • Massage: A gentle massage with warm coconut or sesame or castor or garlic oil for 30 minutes helps to relieve the pain by reducing swelling and improving circulation. Garlic oil helps to relieve the stiffness and swelling of the joint. Massage lowers the body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol and the neurotransmitter substance  which has an association with pain. Massage also helps improve mood by boosting serotonin levels. Lowering your stress does help in lowering inflammation.
  • Turmeric water: In one glass of lukewarm water, add a pinch of turmeric and 1 tsp of honey, mix well, and drink regularly for a week. With its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, turmeric helps to relieve the pain. 
  • Ginger: A paste of ginger, mixed with warm sesame oil can be applied over the joints for 20 minutes.  It helps to soothe swelling and pain in the joints. 
  • Linseed: This is best for arthritis. Soak linseed in buttermilk overnight. Make the paste next day, apply on the affected area. leave it for 20 minutes. Regular usage of this helps to relieve the pain. 
  • Black gram: Make a fine paste with black gram and sesame oil and apply that paste on the joints. 
  • Use copper (tamba) vessels for cooking or storing drinking water in.  Copper has an oligodynamic effect (tough word, no?). It simply means that it releases ions that have healthy effects. They have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. So nice!

If you wish to explore other oils/ointments for massage you can try Ashwagandha, Shallaki liniment, Myaxyl oil, Dhanwantaram taila and Bala taila.

In conclusion, hand and finger joint pain during pregnancy is a common complaint caused by hormones and/or inflammation. Rest, gentle moments, ice, heat, exercise, massage, ayurvedic remedies and diet changes can all help alleviate the discomfort. Maintaining a healthy weight and eating a well-balanced diet can also help reduce joint pain. If the pain persists or becomes severe, it is important to consult your doctor.

You can also join iMumz’s Womb Care Program to get continuous guidance from the best experts. 

Clickable banner to book a call.

In the Article

Pregnancy can bring about many changes in a woman's body, including joint pain. Hand and finger joint pain is a common complaint during pregnancy, and can be caused by a number of factors. In this article, we will explore the causes of hand and finger joint pain during pregnancy and discuss some remedies to help ease the discomfort.

What are the causes of hand and finger joint pain in pregnancy?

Cause 1: The Connection Between Hormones and Hand Pain During Pregnancy

One of the main causes of this pain are your pregnancy-induced hormonal changes. During pregnancy, your body produces a hormone called relaxin. This hormone helps prepare your pelvic muscles and tendons for pregnancy by stretching and relaxing them. Since this hormone travels freely all over your body, it can cause joint pain in other parts of your body, including your hands and fingers. The hormone progesterone also plays a role by loosening the joints.

Cause 2:  The Truth About Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Pregnancy

Other than loosening your joints, during pregnancy, hormones also cause you to retain fluids.  

When this happens, the nerve running through the tunnel around them may become squashed which can cause symptoms like pins and needles, numbness and stiff painful hands. This is called carpal tunnel syndrome.  The symptoms are pins and needles or tingling, numbness, pain, which may be worse at night, burning sensation in fingers, sharp pain in wrist that might even go up the arm to the shoulders.

Cause 3: Arthritis and Pregnancy Finger and Joint Pain in Pregnancy

Arthritis is a condition in which the joints become inflamed. Some studies show that pregnancy hormones can trigger arthritis. Make sure you take care of your wrist and fingers by:

  • Taking frequent breaks from repetitive tasks.
  • Wearing a wrist splint to keep your wrist straight, usually just at night.
  • Doing exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles in the hand and arm.

 

 

Hot and Cold therapy: What to do and what not.

The usual hot or cold therapy that our grandmothers recommend is helpful.  Just note these important points:

  • Applying heat or ice to the affected area can help to reduce pain and inflammation. For heat,  take a long, warm shower, use a moist heating pad to reduce discomfort overnight.
  • Cold treatments can help relieve joint pain, swelling, and inflammation. Wrap a gel ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables in a towel and apply it to painful joints for quick relief. Never apply ice directly to the skin.

What are yoga/mudra suggestions for relief of hand and finger joint pain?

A recent study showed that mindful meditation  could boost immunity and reduce inflammation. A total of 51 participants took part in the study, 26 of whom completed an 8-week program of mindful meditation while the remaining 25 received no treatment. 

Participants who practiced  mindful meditation showed a reduction in arthritic symptoms, including pain, early morning stiffness, and the number of tender and swollen joints.

Here are some amazing stretches that you can do to relieve pain in joints and finger while sitting in Sukhasana:

Manibandha Sanchalan – Wrist Movements 

Wrist rotation-supported

  • Hold the right wrist with the left hand. 
  • Make a fist with the right hand and slowly rotate the hand, keeping the wrist stable. 
  • Repeat in the other direction and with the other hand. For best results, play soothing music and breathe to the rhythm, deeply and consciously. 
  • This will slow the movement and increase your awareness. Practice one rotation for one breath.

Wrist movements-up and down

  • Raise the arms in front of the body.
  • Inhale, turning the backs of the hands towards the body. Exhale and turn the palms downward. 
  • Continue the movement with rhythmic breathing. 

Wrist rotations 

  • Raise the arms in front of the body. 
  • Make fists with the hands and slowly start rotating, keeping the arms stable. 
  • Rotate the hands in both directions. 
  • Continue breathing to the soft, gentle rhythm.

Fingertip pressing 

  • Hold out hands in front of you, palms facing each other.
  • Press the fingertips together firmly, then release. 
  • Repeat as many times as desired. 

Finger pressing 

  • Instead of fingertips as described in the above, in this stretch.
  • Press the entire length of fingers together firmly, then release. 
  • Repeat as many times as desired.

Palm pressing

  • Press the palms together firmly, then release. 
  • Repeat as many times as desired.

Mushtika Bandhan – Hand Clenching  

  • Sit down comfortably with your back straight. 
  • In this sitting position, raise the arms in front of the chest. 
  • Inhaling open the hands as much as you can, separating the fingers. 
  • Exhale and clench the hands together, making fists. 
  • Continue the movement with rhythmic breathing for about five sets of three each.

Sitting Parvatasan – Mountain Pose  

  • Sit in any comfortable meditative pose like Sukhasana. 
  • Extend both hands in front of the body, palms facing inwards and interlock the fingers. 
  • Raise the arms over the head, turning the hands so the palms face outwards. 
  • Stretch the body upwards and turn your gaze upwards, to look at your hands. 
  • Continue to maintain the asana, breathing normally.  

What are some dietary changes that can reduce finger and hand joint pain in pregnancy?

Diet can play an important role. Let’s look at it one-by-one:

Let’s tackle inflammation first.

Weight gain during pregnancy happens throughout the body and as a by-product inflammation is caused, leading to aching joints. This can be soothed with a good intake of antioxidants in the diet. Here is a list of good sources of antioxidants:

  • Amla (Indian Gooseberry)
  • Bael Fruit (Amrit Fruit)
  • Apricots (Khumani)
  • Grapes
  • Beetroot
  • Spinach
  • Cow’s ghee
  • Microgreens
  • Barley Flour
  • Kidney beans (Rajma)

Hormonal changes:

We discussed how Relaxin and Progesterone are loosening your joints in pregnancy. Foods rich in cellulose can help in strengthening the ligaments and alleviate the pain.

  • Root and leafy vegetables, especially green beans
  • Carrots
  • Dals and pulses
  • Pears and apples
  • Avocados and berries

Lack of fluid/ moisture in the body:

Any two bone joints are held in place by the presence of synovial fluid in between the bones which provides a cushioning effect to the joints. When fluid is less, there is a friction between the bones leading to inflammation and pain. 

Drink a minimum of 2.5-3 liters of water everyday.

Add fluids that are rich in electrolytes like coconut water, lemonade, ginger ale, buttermilk  can also be excellent additions to help improve the fluid intake in the body. Ghee is also a great source that helps improve moisture level of the body too.

Omega-3s:

Including foods rich in omega-3s in your diet and/or taking an omega-3 supplement for managing the stiffness.

Curcumin:

It is a component present in turmeric which is a powerful antioxidant, adding natural sources of turmeric or even a doctor/ nutritionist advised curcumin tablet can help relieve the pain.

Cruciferous vegetables:

Including cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli etc can help for joint pain as they have sulforaphane, an antioxidant that has the ability to prevent joint pains. Make sure to cook them well and add in the diet.

Ginger:

One of the most potent anti-inflammatory ingredients in the kitchen, a soothing ginger tea can be relaxing for the joints.

Collagen:

Collagen is key to joint strength and there are some foods that can help increase the collagen production in the body. Vitamin C rich citrus fruits like orange, sweet lime, cashews, berries, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables are some foods that can improve collagen and hence help reduce pain.  

What are some Ayurvedic remedies for relief in finger and hand joint pain in pregnancy?

  • Massage: A gentle massage with warm coconut or sesame or castor or garlic oil for 30 minutes helps to relieve the pain by reducing swelling and improving circulation. Garlic oil helps to relieve the stiffness and swelling of the joint. Massage lowers the body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol and the neurotransmitter substance  which has an association with pain. Massage also helps improve mood by boosting serotonin levels. Lowering your stress does help in lowering inflammation.
  • Turmeric water: In one glass of lukewarm water, add a pinch of turmeric and 1 tsp of honey, mix well, and drink regularly for a week. With its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, turmeric helps to relieve the pain. 
  • Ginger: A paste of ginger, mixed with warm sesame oil can be applied over the joints for 20 minutes.  It helps to soothe swelling and pain in the joints. 
  • Linseed: This is best for arthritis. Soak linseed in buttermilk overnight. Make the paste next day, apply on the affected area. leave it for 20 minutes. Regular usage of this helps to relieve the pain. 
  • Black gram: Make a fine paste with black gram and sesame oil and apply that paste on the joints. 
  • Use copper (tamba) vessels for cooking or storing drinking water in.  Copper has an oligodynamic effect (tough word, no?). It simply means that it releases ions that have healthy effects. They have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. So nice!

If you wish to explore other oils/ointments for massage you can try Ashwagandha, Shallaki liniment, Myaxyl oil, Dhanwantaram taila and Bala taila.

In conclusion, hand and finger joint pain during pregnancy is a common complaint caused by hormones and/or inflammation. Rest, gentle moments, ice, heat, exercise, massage, ayurvedic remedies and diet changes can all help alleviate the discomfort. Maintaining a healthy weight and eating a well-balanced diet can also help reduce joint pain. If the pain persists or becomes severe, it is important to consult your doctor.

You can also join iMumz’s Womb Care Program to get continuous guidance from the best experts. 

Clickable banner to book a call.

Complications
January 25, 2023

Relieving Hand and Finger Joint Pain in Pregnancy: Expert Advice and Self-Care Strategies

By:
iMumz Expert Panel

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