carpal tunnel and tendonitis and what to do?
August 18, 2009 11:16 AM Subscribe
Arm/wrist problems and no health insurance: what to do?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
John got (diagnosed) tendonitis last summer. It was a work related injury and he received workers comp for it (including doctors visits and physical therapy). It slowly got better. In December/January John was spending too much time typing and got (diagnosed) carpal tunnel. He was in a country with public health insurance then so was able to see a doctor. He got some sort of injections in his wrists/arms (not cortisone injections), which didn't really seem to help.
Returning to the USA, John stopped having any sort of health insurance (and has a part-time job, which does not offer him health insurance but pays enough that it disqualifies him from Medicare), but went to several free clinics asking what he should do. They told him to take NSAIDs and wear wrist braces all the time. John has been doing this for the last three weeks, but the wrist braces have aggravated the previously-mentioned tendonitis in his elbows.
Right now he has weak and tingling wrists and hands, opening jars and turning on sticky faucets causes pain and tingling. In the winter (when it was really cold), his fingers were going numbish/turning white. After wearing wrist braces for over an hour, his elbows start feeling like they did back when he first got tendonitis (pain near funny bone, pain down forearm).
He doesn't know what to do. He doesn't want to make either of his arm injuries worse, he doesn't want to ruin his arms for life, he does not have savings or enough money to be in a position to negotiate a flat rate with a doctor. Right now he is doing yoga, has just started taking vitamin B-6 (thanks to advice from the internet), isn't typing or using a computer, but is at a loss as to what his other options are (other than living with weak and tingling and weird-feeling arms for the rest of his life).
What should he do? What can he do? What are his options? (Also, this is being typed by his girlfriend Jane, who would also like advice on how she can best be supportive and help John feel better during this.) If it matters, we are in the central New York area.