Pain Management

3 Quick Solutions to Nix Stiffness in Your Hands and Wrists

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Great news: After a fun day gardening or scrapbooking, you don’t need an Rx to soothe sore hands and wrists. These fixes work even better!

Best Topical: An Olive Oil Massage

Turns out an olive oil rub is more effective than topical NSAIDs, a study in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology found. “NSAIDs only reduce inflammation. But olive oil’s polyphenols ease inflammation plus prevent cartilage destruction and improve joint lubrication,” notes Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM, author of the upcoming Pain Erasers: The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Safe, Drug-Free Relief (Buy on Amazon, $16.95). Tip: Try a massage technique scientists say cuts carpal tunnel pain by 73 percent. Find a free “madenci hand massage” tutorial on YouTube.

Best Exercise: The Table Wave

Harvard researchers report that by moving your wrist from side to side, you can literally “wave away” uncomfortable hand and wrist stiffness triggered by repetitive activities like knitting or planting flowers. Why it works: Flexing the wrist while keeping your arm stationary acts like a pump that lubricates tendons in the hands responsible for discomfort, reducing pain in as little as 60 seconds. To do: Rest your forearm on a table with your wrist hanging over the edge and your thumb pointed upward. Keeping your arm on the table, move only your hand straight up and down 10 times, repeating once an hour when you’re feeling sore.

Best Food Cure: Iced Spiced Latte

Sipping a “golden milk” latte can soothe sore hands and wrists better than prescription NSAIDs, a study out of India found. Its curcumin blocks the body’s release of pain-triggering enzymes. Simply pour 1/2 cup of coconut milk over ice, stir in one teaspoon of turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon of ginger and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon; sweeten with honey. Tip: A pinch of black pepper ups curcumin’s potency by 2,000 percent.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine.

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