Specta needles are acrylic, correct? I found I did not like acrylic needles at all, they seemed sticky, now that I knit looser they might be better. Does your gauge with a given needle size come close to that given on the yarn label? I'm wondering if you are still knitting tighter than you need to. Maybe if circs are the problem somehow using dpn to knit in the round would work. When knitting in the round I often use a smaller tip for the left needle since that makes it easier to work the stitches with the right needle. There was a thread I saw recently about vintage circs made of nylon. Perhaps you could track one of them down and give it a try. I don't recall if there is an underlying medical problem. I mostly gave up crocheting because knitting is so much easier on my hands, even when I feel like I'm struggling to get the stitches for some reason. I really hope you can figure something out to your satisfaction, I'd hate to give up knitting.
This is the last time I'm frogging this project for the last time.