January 24

Rheumatoid Arthritis In The Wrists – How To Reduce Pain

In this video, Katy demonstrates tremendous recovery of wrist strength and reliability with a set of easy-to-hard exercises.

Katy has improved her wrist mobility and strength tremendously and has a lot of great information to share on this topic. Her progress is inspiring! Watch the interview below to see what she does, and what she has achieved.

Clint – I’ve put Katy on so we can talk about improving wrists. We get a lot of questions about wrist pain, instability in the wrists. And we’re going to discuss how Katy has been able to strengthen her wrists in the last couple of years. She’s come a long way in that department, going from originally very, very infrequently using much of her body at all, being very inflamed with rheumatoid arthritis. But now she’s doing backbends and she’s hanging from bars and all sorts of wonderful things. Thanks for coming on this episode, Katy, and sharing how we can improve our wrist strength and reliability.

Katy – Yeah. Thanks for having me Clint. Yes, so I’ve had rheumatoid arthritis my whole life, and so one of the biggest things that it attacked was my wrists. And so, you can see the difference in my two wrists, like in these fingers much shorter than this one. So, there’s a lot of, and it tends to drop like before, like my whole life it just looks different. And so, I’ve had a lot of limitations, my whole life. I can’t like, it doesn’t go up very far. But since starting the Bikram yoga two years ago and then just recently, starting in April, I’ve really started doing more, more active stuff on my hands. And which has drastically strengthened my wrists, like just doing this right here, just holding it like this I could not, was too much for me. Seven months ago, it was extremely difficult. So, yes, I’ve been doing a lot of like wrist exercises and just being more active on my hands. Like throughout the day and it’s really helped improve. So, I’d like to, if I could demonstrate some of the wrist exercises that I do.

Katy – So normally one of the things that I do when I first wake up in the morning usually, is I just gently go back and forth like this, I hold for like 10 seconds, then I go like this way, 10 seconds. And then I just sort of gently twist and just twisting and just going back and forth slowly. Then using the thumb, trying to, pointing towards here, then I do that, so I do that with both hands. Of course, this first is little, is little more difficult. But I still try it, you know. I still do it gently, and so that’s part of what I do, and then I try, and I grab this and I just pull this down. And so, it brings, starts to bring circulation down my arm, and I believe that you know, it’s really important, especially for rheumatoid arthritis to get the circulation going, you know. So that’s what I trying to do first thing in the morning it just helps loosen and get that up.

Katy – And then so then I kind of do the same, I kind of do the same thing, but on all fours and so I kind of start out here. And you can even just I mean, just gently rocking back and forth and gently moving this forward on my wrist. Then bend trying to go back and go this way, which is more doesn’t mean much more difficult. And then also just going like this, and then gently curling my fingers up, and then doing the same thing this way. And gently curling my fingers up in this way and curl up like this, and then going back and finishing it this way and then. So that’s what I do on the floor. And then when I’m done with that, then I do these I do these things. So, like I try and keep my arms straight, and the first one is I imagine that I’m grabbing a ball of snow or like a ball of sand. And I try to do this like I tried 50 times, but sometimes it’s not that much. And then the second one is I pretend that I’m flicking, like I’m flicking sweat off me and I do that. And then the third one is just doing it as fast as I can. So, again, just like wrists circles are always good. So, yes, so those are my wrist exercises and then but I also. Then there’s also really help is or maybe this is getting more into your core, I guess. This is to prep for a handstand, but even right now, I’m just trying to get my wrist flat, this wrist flat. I don’t know if you can see it. Oh, yeah. just holding it. Just holding as close as your feet can get to your hands with my hands flat and just pressing into the floor. And I find that the more that I press my right hand into the floor, it activates my elbow and it actually helps me straighten my elbow. The more pressure that I push into my hands. And so, yeah that’s just an easy exercise you can just hold for like 30 seconds. And it’s kind of a bonus because it will help you get into handstands if you ever, in that’s ever in your future.

Clint – Now, a lot of people would be amazed with your ability to get into that final position. Your feet were very close to your hand. So you’ve obviously gotten a lot of mobility through your hips and lower back. For example, if I tried to bring my hands and feet as close as what you just had, I would only be touching the floor with my fingertips so I would not be able to put my hands flat on the floor like that. And so if people are unable to do that, then they could put their hands down on to maybe a step. I could walk over to the stairs and at the bottom step they could lean forward for a downward dog style and put their hands down on the bottom or even the second step to be able to get that pressure through the elbows and shoulders and risk, correct?

Katy – Yeah. And then you can also there’s also one when you just keep your hands up, and you try and keep your hands flat and you lift up and you’re squeezing, you’re sucking your stomach in and contracting your glutes and your legs. And you keep pushing and you’re imagining that the ceiling is the floor, so I keep pushing against the floor.

Clint – Yes.

Katy That’s also (inaudible) exercise.

Clint – Okay, great. Now, I can relate to so many of the things that you’ve described. And what we have in common is a discovery that weak and painful wrists can be improved by being brave. And that it’s unlikely that we are ever going to turn around weak and painful wrists by avoiding using them. I think the hanging that you also have adopted, which is just to reach up to an overhead bar at a kid’s playground or at the gym has also been helpful for the wrist. Is that true?

Katy – Yeah. I started, my (inaudible) suggested that last year. And so I do that at least twice a week, I go up it’s just a park that’s like five minutes away. And so I started out just doing 10 seconds or five seconds actually, as long as I could hold it. But I did it like to like two times or two or three times and then that it and it’s all I could do. But as I kept doing it, of course, it increased to 20 seconds, 30 seconds, 40, 50, 60. And now it’s at two minutes, and I try and stay as still as possible but there’s times when I just have to move my legs a little bit. But I definitely, it’s definitely improved my grip, my strength of my fingers, and the grip gripping the bar. And I feel like afterward, like my spine feels better, like my hips feel more open, my even my ankles feel better. Like it just, it’s like it just loosens everything up, you know. And even if you’re just on there for 10 seconds a day, like, you know yeah it’s definitely hanging’s been huge.

Clint – Yeah, love it.

Katy – And I like it. It’s fun.

Clint – Isn’t it? It is. It’s totally fun.

Katy – So by doing all this Bikram yoga since three years ago, and really recently focusing on strengthening my wrists and my hands, it’s definitely improved their strength and the range of motion in my hands. And so I just wanted to show you something that I could not do last year that I can do now, so I’m going to show you my hand can stand against the wall, which I am currently working on, but progress.

Clint Paddison

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  1. That was so awesome
    Thank you so much!
    I will start working on my hands and wrists.
    I used to be a gymnist and could do the teddy bear headstand, bars and uneven, it gives me hope as my wrists are completely frozen now, but I will keep trying and especially those downward poses. Bless and thank Katy :- )

  2. do you have any advice on pain control in feet ankles and knees
    I have been experiencing a large amount of paint with in those areas
    kind regards
    Sharyn Rawlinson

  3. Katy is very inspiring. I liked watching her exercise ideas with the wrists. I work on my wrists anytime I can because I’ve been playing tennis for years when I got diagnosed. I was monitoring my hand swelling in 2012 while attending my boot-camp class weekly with ladies all much younger than I was. I thought I had to quit when I got the RA diagnoses, but am learning that I need to brave through as much pain as possible and keep exercising. For the last few years I keep doing all I can to move in a variety of ways and just this last year my tennis team has moved up to A3 level as we completed our B season in first place. I’m inspired to see that Katy can still strengthen even with the damage that has been done on her wrist joint. Thanks to Katy for sharing and you for offering her a platform to do so.

  4. I really appreciate this talk with Katy about strengthening the wrists. We have to be very careful not to “do nothing” , when we have joint issues. I believe we either move it OR lose it. I don’t want to let RA dictate my range of motion or types of exercise I can do so I am in the process, like Katy of reclaiming all my joints through Bikram , walking , jogging, Spin classes and other sports. Katy has always inspired me and here she goes again! Thanks, Clint and Katy for a truly informative video!

  5. She is amazing, I did the exercise and it felt good on my wrist. Thank you for sharing! Lots of love!!!Happy healing ❤️

  6. Hi Clint,
    This short video with Katy is so spot on! I’m very thankful to you both for airing this. While many people with RA may have no desire to do a handstand it is imperative to keep the joints both stretched and challenged by use. As a Doctor of Chiropractic with RA, I wouldn’t be able to continue my work with my patients if I did not do daily (multiple times throughout the day actually) stretches very similar to Katy’s. My joint strength does vary from day to day but if I gently push myself (and my joints) through the soreness and stiffness, I’m rewarded with a decrease of pain along with the reduction of inflammation. I encourage everyone with RA to not give into the pain or stiffness! Be well, Lauren

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