Strained tendons of the wrist
Q I strained the tendons in my left wrist a year ago and my doctor diagnosed de Quervain's stenosing tenovaginitis. I wear one of those elastic wrist supports with a metal strip to keep it rigid but, as I live alone, I have to remove it to do jobs around the house, which doesn't help. As well as a daily multivitamin, I take chondroitin glucosamine, MSM, calcium and magnesium, and I also use neo magnets. But it still hurts, and I can't afford to spend any more money on unnecessary or ineffective treatments. - Coral Smith, via e-mail
A This form of tendonitis develops when the sheath containing two tendons of the forearm muscles that work the thumb (extensor pollicis brevis and abductor pollicis longus) become thickened and inflamed.
There are two standard conventional approaches to its management. One is corticosteroid injections into the tendon sheath, which masks the inflammation and provides only temporary relief. The other is a radical operation to slit the thickened lateral wall of the tendon sheath. This would put your wrist out of action altogether for some time. Given these drawbacks, it is worth persisting with alternative treatments.
According to panellist Dr Harald Gaier, a tried-and-tested homoeopathic combination remedy that is specially formulated for the condition and works very well is Urarthone (Laboratoires Lehning). Take a tablespoon (15 mL) twice a day, morning and night, in hot water or herbal tea. For acute conditions, take it three times daily. You should notice a difference within five to 10 days. It can be taken for up to a few months, in which case, you will need to scale down the dosages over time.
Dr Gaier also suggests that you stop taking the chondroitin, which was developed to help arthritic conditions, but not this kind of tendonitis.
There's no harm in carrying on with the other supplements you're taking, which are often deficient through diet alone and have a range of benefits. Neodymium magnets may help alleviate some of the pain, too. Nevertheless, these measures are likely to be of only marginal help in easing your problem compared with taking Urarthone.
Urarthone is available from The Diagnostic Clinic in Southend (tel: 01202 744 717; www.thediagnosticclinic.com). You may also wish to take a look at the original peer-reviewed treatment report (Am J Orthop, 1997; 26: 641-4).
Meanwhile, don't give in to the temptation to have any manipulative therapy on your wrist such as chiropractic. That could do far more harm than good by snapping the tendon.