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Posted by Cheryl on December 04, 1999 at 08:13:18:

I've had pain in my left hand and neck for four years now, and the orthopedist I went to has been unable to diagnose it. It mimicks the symptoms of a pinched nerve in my neck and carpal tunnel, but my EMGs have all shown normal nerve function and MRIs of the neck show nothing but a reversal of the normal lordotic curvature. My physical therapist suggests that I might have osteoarthritis (if I've gotten it right) - the kind that doesn't show up on a blood test. The only suggestion the orthopedist had was acupuncture, which I'm willing to pursue but which my medical insurance doesn't cover. I intend to go for one session to see if it helps and then see if my insurer is open to authorizing it as an alternative to frequent physical therapy and chiropractor visits.

I want to get a second opinion from another orthopedist. I live in Essex County, New Jersey. What do you suggest? My chiropractor suggested going to one of the specialty centers in New York. Do any of you know of anyone you would recommend? I'm looking for a hands-on physician who will ask me questions about lifestyle (I'm left-handed, for example, so my left arm gets used a lot) and knows what kinds of posture/work environments help or exacerbate joint problems. Any other suggestions for pain relief would be welcome. I am taking Vioxx (but it doesn't seem to be helping much). I took Naproxen in the past but it upset my stomach too much. Cortisone shots in the wrist did nothing. Chondoitin/glucosamine also doesn't seem to help.

I appreciate any help you can give me.

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