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Posted by Kristie on December 05, 1999 at 00:23:42:

In Reply to: Re: 1st acupuncture result.... posted by Gramps on December 04, 1999 at 21:17:46:

: : 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.

: Hi Cheryl,

: I have had x-rays and MRI's that show I have arthritis in the neck and hip. The neck didn't cause any real pain, just some shoulder soreness and tingling down my left arm. In fact, I was able to run and complete my 7th, 8th and 9th marathons this year after finding I had arthritis in the neck. In October, however I finally went to a Orthopedic sports doctor for my groin pain and found I had hip arthritis also.

: I was put on Vioxx and asked to be switch to celebrex after 10 days of pain and no relief. 3 days later, I did some serious internal bleeding and Now the Doc's won't give me anything but Tylenol and I'm hurting pretty good. I decided to go to an acupuncturist last night. [very interesting] I walked out of his office a new man, pain free. I had to walk a block uphill to get to my van and it felt great. I wanted to run but decided not to. After my 45 minute drive home, I didn't feel quite as well but 50% better than when I went in for treatment. This morning, it felt maybe 25% better but after a 4 mile slow walk with Granny Jean and our dog, I was back to my lousy normal. The treatment cost 100 dollars with my insurance paying 80. I am going back on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Good luck from "still gimpy but hoping Gramps"

Boy, Gramps, your reaction to the acupuncture sounds like my reaction immediately after my cortisone shot. But it lasts alot longer. My insurance better cover it, as it cost nearly $500 (was done under x-ray). But I am still basically pain free and it's been 5 weeks.
It sounds like you didn't try many NSAIDS, just the new Cox-2 inhibitors--Celebrex and Vioxx? I tried Celebrex, with no basically no result. I had great results for a while with Arthrotec, which has a built in antacid with the NSAID. For several months it worked really well, but then my stomach got sensitive to it. I can still take Naproxen, which seems to affect my system the least of the NSAIDS. It's amazing how different all our chemistries are.
But, your hip will require replacement, most likely, and I think it's not worth waiting too long.

And Cheryl, it sounds like you may well have osteoarthritis. I don't know what your age is (I'm 46), but it is pretty common as we get older. I'm actually too young to have degenerated hips, but I have "shallow hip sockets" so my hips wore out. If you've just learned you have arthritis, you should tread very gently with the NSAIDS, including the new Celebrex and Vioxx. I feel like the past year of trying to hide the pain and arthritis with NSAIDS has destroyed my insides--and my desire or enjoyment of eating.
If I were you, I would definitely get a second opinion, and be very aggressive in your communications with your doctor--ask everything and make him explain his answers to you. My doctor (ortho surgeon) has been great, but I learned of my problem from my very good general doctor who saw the x-rays and thought I was being eaten by arthritis and it was probably htroughout my body and there was little I could really do but take Tylenol, adn she suggested Glucosamine, which I have continued to take but I don't know if it really helps at all. But she did refer me to the ortho surgeon because I asked what I could do and wanted to pursue it immediately.
Anyway, hope you find a good doc and some good answers soon.

Good luck to you both ...

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