I've had wrist pain for almost two years now. The arthrogram and X-rays have all come back normal. No one can tell me what's wrong with the wrist. My doctor thinks it will probably get better without surgery. How likely is it that the pain will go away? Are my chances of recovery worse because I've been in pain so long?

Wrist pain can be difficult to diagnose, especially when the tests come back normal. Research shows that patients with normal arthrogram and X-ray results get better without surgery about 65 percent of the time. In less than 20 percent of cases, patients get worse.

Patients who have had wrist pain for more than one year tend to wind up with more problems doing wrist activities than patients who have only been in pain for a few months. Patients who have been in pain longer may also have more wrist pain, stiffness, and weakness down the road. These symptoms may be fairly mild, though.

Talk with your doctor about ways to manage your pain. If your symptoms persist, surgery may be a good option.