I am desperately trying to find out if ANYONE who has had a compressed ulnar nerve has my symptoms. I have been through the ringer the past 4 months trying to get dx’ed with SOMETHING so I can have relief. I have been to 2 orthopaedic docs and a neurologist. SO far, no relief.
My symptoms started as tingling in my 4th and 5th fingers of my left hand. Namely when I was holding my arm up, say to talk on the phone. Let me add I am left handed as well. Which just adds to the problems. Within the next week or 2, I noticed tingling and numbess which radiated intermittently up to my elbow. If I propped my elbow up on a table (like bad table manners, ha) I could feel the shooting, searing, ,tingling “pain” from the elbow to my last two fingers. I googled this, and found cubital tunnel syndrome. Be it said that I DID break my left elbow about 4.5 years ago. So with that in mind, I went and saw the ortho who set my arm then. He dx’ed me with the ulnar nerve entrapment, and said he “doubted” it would be from my fall and subsequent break 4 years earlier. He told me to (basically) eat Aleve for the next few weeks to see if it helped. It did NOT help.
About 2 weeks after that, I went at had an EMG and NCV testing done. Things just progressively got worse. I had normal results, according to the neurologist.(well I had mildly abnormal NCV results in my Guyon’s canal). He asked if I ever had neck pain, which I have, and he recommended at some point getting a cervical MRI to rule out cervical neuropathy. I brushed this off, until about 2 or 3 weeks later, the awful tingling/numbness/searing pain moved up into my triceps and underarm area. Then, it proceeded to go up into the base of my neck (say, in between the shoulder blade area). Tingling, all the time, just about, in one place or another along that path.
A few weeks later, I followed up with the ortho, and told him I believed it was my NECK causing the problem. I had an MRI a week after that appointment, then another appointment with a second orthopedic doc who specialized in necks/backs. He said my MRI was FINE. My neck was FINE. I was speechless, b/c I almost hoped it WAS my neck. At least then, I’d have an answer, and frankly… probably an easier recovery. Let’s face it. So he put me on Elavil to help the ulnar nerve pain (that’s what it’s been dx’ed as) and after 4 days of that, I couldn’t keep my eyes open at work. I just got off it 2 nights ago, and tonight I’m taking my first dose of Lyrica.
Let me add I’m only 30 years old,, and a church pianist as a second job. I NEED my hands, they are my livelihood. I am the mom of a 5 yr old and a 3 yr old. I am suffering, and I’m scared to have surgery on my elbow, because… I’m still not convinced that’s all that’s going on. Has anyone else with CTS/ulnar nerve entrapment had tingling ALL the way up the arm, into the armpit, and in the base of the neck? It’s like I can feel the whole nerve from top to bottom.
I’m looking for ANY input at all. Thanks for reading this long entry.
Last edited by moderator2; 08-13-2009 at 08:48 PM.
Reason: please read the posting rules
hello it is posible the problem is coming from your neck. Try this procedure sit in a chair with your back and kneck straight. Take your right hand with your pointer finger and middle finger then place the two fingers on your chin. Sitting with your back straight push you chin straight back. Let your lower part of your head go back as you push. This procedure religns the spin. Once you got the procedure down. Due this without you fingers. Start out with 10 reps. Pause for a minute then do another 10 etc. If you feel you numbness move in to you palm your headed in the right direction. If this happens you should start to feel the pain lesson a little. Know if the numbness did move and lesson as your are doing this follow this procedure: Do 10 reps 2 times a day for three days then increase to 3 times a day for a couple of weeks. Make sure when you are sleeping, sleep flat with your head flat. Get a round cylinder cushion to put under your neck for support. You can wrap a towel around your elbow to keep your arms for bending when you sleep. If you feel the need for futher instruction, go to physical therapy and mention this procedure they will instruct you on how to do it.
I have the same problem as you and went to physical therepy and this worked for me. After treatment work on sitting straight, proper posture, and sleeping with you head flat as possible.
Hope this helps and good luck
hope this helps
Last edited by moderator2; 08-13-2009 at 08:47 PM.
Wow, what the heck is he going to do surgery on? Did they actually find something wrong on any of these tests? Didn't sound like it to me. EMGs don't show small fiber neuropathy because it effects the autonomic nerves and the peripheral nerves. It won't even show up at all with the autonomic stuff. He must think that you have some swelling some place causing all of these symptoms because that is what the Alieve would be treating, swelling that is. I am a nurse and I am very suspicious about your symptoms and what the actual cause is. Surgery is a business, don't forget that. If he does surgery on you and doesn't find anything, he still gets paid. If it was me, I would want him to tell me what exactly he thinks it is and what he hopes to accomplish. To me, I think that a pinched nerve or something like that sounds pretty reasonable. Maybe it would just take a steriod injection at the site he thinks is causing all of your trouble. That is much less invasive and carries fewer side effects. I would think that would be worth a try before doing surgery. Then, if that doesn't work, try surgery. I would also ask him for some Vicodin or Percocet to get you through till he figures out what is going on. Don't be afraid to ask for these drugs. Remember, they work for you. It is against the medical bylaws to allow a patient to remain in pain. He should be very open to suggestions like steriod injections and pain management in the form of drugs and if he isn't, time for a second opinion. Alieve is a great drug, it can however, cause stomach ulcers, painless ones that you won't know about until it is too late and they can be life threatening. Alieve should be taken with narcotics, Alieve and Ibuprofen aid the narcotics and it is totally safe to take them together. Don't take that Alieve for very long or you will get an ulcer. Ask him for steriod injection and narcotics and you will be sleeping better and I would also only take them in the smallest dose possible because of your little ones, you could take a heavier dose at night before you go to sleep, that is what I do. I also only take Lyrica at night because it makes me too tired and I have two little ones also and to me, it just isn't worth it.
Last edited by moderator2; 08-13-2009 at 08:47 PM.
I don't have an answer to your problem, but I am printing this out to take to my neurologist. It is like I wrote it myself. I was in a vehicle accident when my problems started and your posting is like the words I needed to tell him, but didn't know how. I will let you know if anything good develops here with any new treatments. God Bless.
Last edited by moderator2; 08-13-2009 at 08:46 PM.
I have all the same symptoms. I have been diagnosed with ulnar nerve entrapment. The problem is there is really no way for them to be sure if the problem is in the neck or the ulnar nerve. Both can cause these problems.
They do have a brace to keep your arm from bending, you wear it a night. It does help some. Also , be aware at all times and try to keep from bending the arm for long periods of time. If you do that you can get things to calm down some.
The ulnar nerve is much easier to treat than the neck. It's a quick release surgery and a short recovery time,much like carpal tunnel. If it's not caused by your neck you should be fine. It can also be in both places at the same time.
I would fix your arm first. Then move on to the neck if needed. If they didn't find anything in your neck on the MRI they won't be able to do anything to your neck.
Just because they can't see it doesn't mean its not there. You may fix your arm and still have the problem, and the doc's will have a hard time believing you have the problem then. I hope for your peace of mind it is in your arm. Best of luck to you.
WOW!!! Your saga sounds alot like mine, toss in carpal tunnel syndrome, peripheral neuropathy and a seizure disorder and we would have the same salad.
The doctors I was seeing did not tell me about the carpal tunnel, the pain was not in my wrists but in my upper arms. I had just retired and relocated to a new area. The seizure disorder was in my speech center so I was having trouble verbalizing my thoughts. Anyway, back to you, I have done research on the ulnar nerve and cubital tunnel syndrome,Which is ulnar nerve entrapment. This can be done as a non-invasive surgery. Go to PubMed.com and look up this subject or any medical topic. God Bless and Get Healthy, Emma G
Last edited by moderator2; 08-13-2009 at 08:45 PM.
Reason: please read the posting rules
Sounds a lot like my issues.
I, like the previous post, also have a carpal tunnel as well as a compressed ulnar nerve and had that wonderful NCV test (ugh that was so painful & uncomfortable!). My pain actually has started radiating up into the base of my neck and I'm a high school math teacher that uses a lot of technology in my classroom. In talking with my doctors we thought my poor posture when I was playing the piano for the 1st 18 years of my life was a large contributing factor. I would scoot the piano bench back more when you are playing to not compress the nerve in the elbow or wrist or whatever may be compressed.
I'm planning on going back to my doctor soon because I'm really hurting and no amount of Aleve or advil or anything has been helping (stupid nerves!).
Have you tried some of the exercises that are supposed to help it?
I still haven't found a doctor that will look at the ulnar nerve issues. All they want to talk about is the carpal tunnel issues but since my symptoms aren't serious in that area they don't want to consider treating that problem with surgery and neither do I. I have had 2 cortisone shots in my shoulder which relieved the swelling and pain in my upper arms briefly. My pain is not in my shoulder but in soft tissue between my shoulder and elbow. But mobility in my arms is drastically reduced due to the pain. I only take Tylenol, Advil or Aleve, anything stronger puts me to sleep or makes me hallucinate. At this point I am applying the old addage, Grin and Bear it. But I don't have small children and I am unable to work due to the pain. My heart and prayers go out to those of you who have small children or have to continue to work in spite of the pain. I am still looking for help and will continue to do so, we shouldn't give up. Continue to research doctors and treatments, we have to be responsible for our own healthcare.
I had ulnar entrapment from an auto accident in 07. Six months after the accident and weeks and weeks of PT, I had ulnar nerve transposition and guyans canal release.
The surgeon moved the entraped and injured ulnar from the back of the elbow to the front - under the muscle to allow it to heal and not be further irritated. He also did a guyans canal release - at the wrist - about a 2 inch scar that relieved the pressure on the two fingers affected by the injury. Before surgery, the pain was constant, like a bad tooth ache, that wouldn't not go away. Now - two years later, I still have some discomfort - although - nothing like before the surgery , an injury is an injury and repairs are just that - not the original workings. I was dropping things, telephone handset, things that you would normally reach for and take care of without giving it much thought. Loading groceries on the conveyor belt, etc. I would say now, that my physical strength is at about 60% of before the injury. That is my new bar of 100%. I am better, but forever changed. The ulnar is very sensitve as you well know from hitting your funny bone and amazing flash of pain it gives. And , the ulnar doesn't regenerate according to my ortho doc/surgeon like the carpal or median nerves can. This situation demands further exploration. Playing the piano will be difficult for a while if you do ever have surgery to relieve the entrapement. I'd seek a second counsel or opinion and third for your arm pains. This is not something you can ignore. The consequences can be devastating for ulnar injuries if no proper care is administered.
Not trying to scare you, but I am encouraging you to keep up the good fight for you health and well being.
i have had a numb left pinkie for a while go to osteopath and try omm osteopathic manipulation . i have narrowed my problem to ulnar nerve entrapment orthopedic md neurologists md i had varying degrees of trust with md brain surgeon md said was cevical bone spur touching nerve i did not think it was that wanted to do cervical cortisone opted out. hand surgeon wanted to cut my wrist and elbow after 5 minutes saying cubitol and carpal tunnel wont se him again . osteopath DO physician has been most trustworthy trying to narrow down the exact spot of entrapment. i would see a good Do who can manipulate the pressure point hope that helps
I never had a complaint in my life. After I had ulnar entrapment surgery on my left elbow, my life has been a living nightmare of pain and suffering. I had the most basic transposition. The pain and swelling in that elbow, pain in the forearm, all the way to the wrist and hand is terrible. The doctors act like nothing is wrong. I hate these doctors. In fact I am starting to hate all doctors, period. They ruined my life. I should ruin theirs.....