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10 Ways to Encourage Creativity with Arthritis Patients

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When arthritis in the hand flares up, it is only natural for an individual to turn away from using their inflamed joints, but in practice, this is not recommended behavior. Rather, continuous repetitive exercises are crucial to ease up the hand's stiffness, improve blood circulation, and help the fingers become more flexible.

 

On that note, why not encourage this idea with fun hobbies! By participating in creative projects, individuals will not only be entertained, but they will also regain a sense of indepence, and with only a few minor adjustments, these undertakings can be a relatively painless experience too. Here's some suggestions to get you started.

 

1. Knitting
If you're looking for a way to limber up those fingers whilst wearing a warm jumper or scarf when you're finished, then knitting may be the craft for you! Just remember that it might take a while to build up your strength, so be patient, and start with short sessions at first, always stretching those appendages before hand. Additional tips: trade the cold heavy metal needles for wooden or plastic ones, and always knit with wool, as its elasticity makes it much easier to use.

 

2. Pottery
Clay is a particularly good creative endeavor, as it warms up the hands with varied movements (such as kneading, rolling, sculpting etc), whilst rewarding you at the end with a piece of art you can be proud of. However, as ceramics can be quite taxing on the joints, a highly watered down soft clay is imperative, and you must always remain aware of your posture, taking regular breaks between.

3. Beading
The art of jewelry making and beading is a fantastic way to increase concentrated motor skills due to the fine detail of the work involved. Plus everyone loves something wearable! To make the craft more comfortable, it's recommended that you invest in ergonomic pliers, especially when wire materials are part of your creation.

4. Painting
Whether oils, acrylic, or watercolors, painting is one the most gentle artistic ventures one can explore, perfect for those with aching joints wanting to fully express themselves creatively, whilst getting lost in the colorful distractions. To produce the best masterpiece possible, look into specifically designed brushes with additional grip.

5. Drawing
Much like painting, drawing allows the imagination to run free, except without the mess! Unfortunately, pencils are known to increase the risk of repetitive strain injuries, which is why a straight posture, ergonomic workspace, and easy-to-grip tools are essential. This would also be a great time to look into trying different gloves for arthritis, as this extra cover can help compress the inflammation during times of repeated motion.

6. Coloring
Gone are the days when coloring was considered a child's pass time, as this therapeutic exercise keeps one out of their thoughts whilst keeping them within the lines. As before, always seek out the most comfortable and easiest to hold stationary, and consider a soft gel wrist rest for bonus relaxation points too.

7. Gardening

The health benefits of gardening are endless, from breathing fresh air, to discovering a meditative peace through nature, to moving your whole body around, to finding accomplishment in bringing these plants to life. In order to make the experience even easier, try using raised garden beds, ask for help with any heavy lifting, choose tools appropriate to your condition, and look into low-maintenance plants, such as azaleas, marigolds, and lavender.

 

8. Musical Instruments
If you were once a musician or always wanted to give it a try, don't let your hands stop you! With more breaks and a thorough stretching routine, the regular practice of a musical instrument can improve dexterity and bring an uplifting joy into your life through your ears. Just keep in mind the weight of the apparatus before any purchase, as a lighter bodied instrument will make a big difference to your condition.

9. Woodwork
For the more adventurous, woodwork is an exciting way to accomplish full body movements whilst remaining focused on your feet, but this can also be quite an intensive hobby, so approach with caution. Take it slow, be wary of sharp tools, and if you are on any medication, ask your doctor for his opinion on the use of heavy machinery. Avoid heavy lifting too, and stick to more manual tools whenever possible, as power appliances may aggravate your inflammation.

10. Cooking
Finally, if the arts aren't your fancy, expand your cooking range by experimenting with new meal ideas. As before, ergonomic utensils will be your best friends here, and always ask someone for help when finer chopping and slicing is required. And once you perfect that fresh dish, everyone will appreciate you for it, because the fastest way into people's hearts is often through their stomachs.