I sit at a desk all day and have been doing so for 5-6 years now. I have a bad habit of leaning my elbow on the table. Recently, my "pinky" finger, the one next to it and the edge of my hand went numb and it had some mild pain in it. After this went on for a few weeks I finally made an appointment to see a neurologist. The first time I saw him, he just talked to me. The second time, they did some kind of test where they place a taser-gun-looking thing on various parts of your hand and arm and shock you (ouch!). Anyway, the test results showed that I had a "slight ulnar nerve entrapment" and I was told to come back in several weeks to discuss treatment options. I missed my appointment. Actually I never showed up because a freind of ours (who is a nurse) told me that she currently has the same thing and that while it's a real pain, it usually goes away in a year or two as long as you take care not to lean on your elbow anymore (which I hav'nt been). With this in mind, I just decided that rather that having surgery (which terrifies me) or having to take drugs all the time, I would just tough it out. Was this a wise decision on my part?. Will it go away eventually?. Are there any home remedies or over-the-counter things that work?. I'm willing to put up with it but I don't want to if it's going to result in long-term damage.
DON'T ignore it! It will be more likely that you'll have to have surgery if you don't take care of it.
I just went to my doctor for this today. We're going to try conservative treatment first: anti-inflammatory meds and wrapping the elbow to keep it straight. If that doesn't work, we can try injections. Surgery is a last resort.
If you just ignore this, it may lead to permanent damage that can only be helped by surgery.
datarella's advice is consistent with my research that surgery is necessary and relief only comes that way. Although, FearfulGuy, I am sure you would rather take your nurse friend's advice, she may not be qualified to diagnose you. If you want a second opinion perhaps you could get it from another neurologist, however they may have to do the conduction test on you again! Did they test you with needles too?
datarella, be careful when wrapping your elbow to keep it straight, I've been told wrapping with an ace bandage could worsen the pressure on the nerve.
You can lose muscle strength and more if you let it go too long. I'm on my 2year with it and finally decided enough is enough, nothing else worked so I will be haveing that as well as the carpal tunnel surgery in a couple weeks. The physical therapist who should know says muscle strength is lost as nerve impulses are interrrupted such as entrapment.
I might be completely out of my mind but I tend to agree with some of folks that I found thru my research.....and that is........that ulnar nerve entrapment does not necessarily stem from injury and/or compression at the elbow and/or wrist. Nor do I agree that surgery is probably the eventual cure.
I have found that daily massage of the shoulder blade and upper rib cage and attempting to clear the pressure points in those areas will dramatically improve the numbness and tingling which I call "falling asleep". A daily 10-minute massage with a strong electric massager can dramatically improve the condition. Also keeping the elbow at no greater than 30 degrees while working at the computer, typewriter or any other activity of repetive motion will help the condition.
I'm into a more holistic approach to this common problem and am a firm believer that docs would rather perform the surgery than to help us find proper alternatives. It's obviously more profitable to do surgery than to TEACH people to overcome their issues.
Anybody with holistic approaches, including exercise for the hand, arm and should.......please respond.
Whatever you do, do not let it go on for a while. I did that and I am paying for it like you wouldn't believe. I finally had surgery after nearly 4 years, and I am one hurtin puppy.
My right arm from the elbow down is like a massive electrical storm, and the pain is unbelievable. Get it taken care of before it gets to my level. I can understand your apprehension, and you most certainly want to look at alternatives, but get it taken care of as soon as you can