Sometimes a long break works best

I am writing in response to the letter in your March issue from Barbara Lee, RDH, concerning tendinitis.

Dear RDH:

I am writing in response to the letter in your March issue from Barbara Lee, RDH, concerning tendinitis.

I have been a hygienist for 32 years and have developed tendinitis in my right hand. The symptoms started almost two years ago, and, after discussing them with my employer, I filed a workmen`s comp claim and visited my family physician. He diagnosed my tendinitis as work related and prescribed 500 mg. of naproxen twice daily to help relieve the inflammation and control the pain. The medication has made it possible to continue my career.

The Worker`s Compensation Board requested a second opinion with an orthopedic surgeon who took X-rays and did an examination. His diagnosis was osteoarthritis of the basilar thumb joint which was being controlled by the medication prescribed by my family physician. Since arthritis is an "underlying" condition and supposedly not caused by the repetitive movements of my work, my workmen`s comp claim was denied. I was hoping they would at least cover the cost of the medication.

What is fascinating to me is that when I am on vacation or even a long weekend, the pain disappears, and I do not need the medication. It takes about a week after returning to work for the symptoms to reappear, but according to the Workmen`s Comp Board, this is not "work related."

I realize Barbara Lee`s physical problems are more extensive than mine, but felt you might be interested in my experience. I wish her luck in finding a resolution.

Mary K. Garrepy, RDH

Winthrop, Maine

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