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Stiff Hands

Stiff hands are often a prominent symptom of a condition called fibromyalgia. Read more about its causes, symptoms and treatment.
Ashwini Kulkarni Sule Apr 10, 2019
Do you wake up with stiff hands or stiffness in the rest of your body? Well, you might be suffering from a condition called fibromyalgia. People suffering from fibromyalgia often complain of stiff hands in the morning.
Along with the stiffness, there is also some amount of joint pain and muscle ache. Stiff hands often impose several restrictions upon the movement of hands, thereby affecting the daily life of the person.

Causes of Stiff Hands

The reason why stiff hands occur in the first place is that there is an abnormal increase in the collagen in the skin as well as underneath it. More often than not fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis are the major causes of stiff hands. If the stiffness is more pronounced in the morning then the cause is mostly fibromyalgia.
Osteoarthritis is a common cause of stiff hands amongst elderly people. Diabetes is yet another condition that leads to this condition. Diabetic stiff hands occur due to several abnormalities in the body. Lack of hand exercises or overusing a certain particular muscle group also aggravates the possibility of stiff hands.
Sleeping problems are also somehow associated with stiff hands. Too much of golfing may also contribute to the stiffness in fingers. Carpal tunnel syndrome may sometimes induce stiffness in hands and fingers.


Stiff hands are often associated with some other symptoms of fibromyalgia. The stiffness usually begins in the little finger and eventually moves towards the thumb. The various symptoms of stiffness are :
» Tightness in the muscles of the hands, especially after you wake up in the morning.
» In the morning, stiffness in hands and fingers becomes unbearable.
» Tightness in the muscles of hand after prolonged periods of rest, e.g long drives, sitting in the office for long, afternoon naps.
» Throbbing pain especially in the hands and joints of the fingers.
» Inability to fully extend finger joints and restricted movement of the wrist.
» Skin at the back of hand becomes waxy, rubbery, due to excess production of collagen.


Stiff hands treatment can only be initiated when the cause is diagnosed. Nonetheless, certain home treatments can also give you a temporary relief from the symptoms of stiff hands. Paraffin bath is one treatment option that can be easily carried out at home. Warm some paraffin wax in a pan and dip your hands in it for about 20 minutes.
This remedy increases the blood flow to the hands and finger joints, thereby reduces the stiffness in hands and fingers. Mostly, people with osteoarthritis benefit from this treatment. Other treatment options include physiotherapy exercises, which help to improve the function of muscles and joints located in the hands.
Surgery may be recommended in cases, where non-surgical or conventional methods do not work. Elderly people are less likely to benefit from surgery due to fragility of the bones. However, if the stiffness is due to overusing of the muscle group, then surgery can be pretty useful. Thus, sportsmen or young people may benefit a great deal from surgery. 
Surgery is a simple treatment with a quick recovery. However, go for surgery only if all the other non-surgical modes of treatment fail.
Although, stiff hands is a condition which has no serious consequences. It can definitely affect the quality of life of an individual. The best way to avoid the occurrence of stiff hands is by taking proper preventive measures.
These include exercising on a daily basis and initiating preventive measures as soon as you notice the slightest sign of stiff hands. Thus, do not wait for symptoms to appear and start hand exercises as early as possible.
Disclaimer: This is intended for information purpose only. Do not use the information presented herein as a substitute for medical practitioner's advice.