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    Old 02-28-2007, 12:04 PM   #1
    matteaton81
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    Ulnar nerve problem...PLEASE help!!

    I am desperate for some answers. I will try to keep this as brief as I can.

    I have suffered from constant pain related to my left ulnar nerve (elbow region, medial one-third of the hand, fourth and fifth fingers) for almost a year now. I have had three MRIs in an attempt to specifically diagnose where the problem is. An MRI of my left elbow showed no swelling, marrow edema, or disruption of ulnar nerve signaling within the cubital tunnel. An MRI of my left brachial plexus showed nothing out of the ordinary. An MRI of my c-spine showed only minimal disc bulging at C5/C6, without any protrusion into my spinal cord (the ulnar nerve doesn't correspond with that disc anyway). The kicker is that I had an EMG, which definitely showed decreased recruitment patterns of two ulnar-innervated muscles and even one median-innervated muscle. Wait, it gets better.

    I have tried the following medications: ibuprofen, tylenol, ultracet, methylprednisolone (medrol dosepak), gabapentin, hydrocodone, and elavil. None of these medications did anything for me (although there is a good possibility that I did not take some of them long enough for them to get all the way into my system). My neurologist speculated that I might have a fibrous band of scar tissue (due to overuse of my elbow?) slightly compressing the nerve (something that won't show up on an MRI), but obviously he wouldn't commit to that. He wanted to leave it alone, but he referred me to a neurosurgeon, who reluctantly agreed to do ulnar nerve release at my elbow (mainly because that is where most of my pain is). I had the surgery back on Jan. 18 and haven't started feeling any relief from it yet, unfortunately. The neurosurgeon said he didn't see any scar tissue on the nerve at my elbow. All he said he saw was that the nerve looked slightly skinny as it passed through the two heads of flexor carpi ulnaris. The next step would be to try an ulnar nerve transposition, which I would love to avoid if possible. So what I want to know is this. Do you folks have ANY idea as to what could be wrong with me? Like I said, the MRI showed that I have decreased recruitment patterns to ulnar-innervated muscles, but NO OBVIOUS SIGNS OF NERVE ENTRAPMENT. Can a person just develop ulnar neuropathy out of the blue? Or is there something wrong with me that is really obscure, something that only someone at the Cleveland Clinic could diagnose?

     
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    Old 03-02-2007, 12:07 PM   #2
    matteaton81
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    Re: Ulnar nerve problem...PLEASE help!!

    No takers whatsoever?

     
    Old 03-05-2007, 06:13 AM   #3
    LSonge
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    Re: Ulnar nerve problem...PLEASE help!!

    Hello,

    I will share a bit of my experience. I had the ulnar nerve trans-location done 7 yrs ago due to extreme damage. The cause was finally accepted in terms as "repetitive injury". No specific trauma. I followed up with the given encouragement that the nerve repaired itself 1/4" each month and total recovery "if at all" would be a wait and see over 18 mos. After which this time the condition at that time was all there was to be hoped for (this was the surgeon). Well the intense pain relented after surgery but I still have continued numbness and burning. I continued with medical care through a Pain Management Clinic. I had every possible treatment from injections, many, many, over the counter drugs (and methadone), acupuncture, physical therapy, bio-feed back, chiropractic, hypnotism, diet changes, natural herbs, psychologists, and psychiatrists. I had pills for all ills. This is a condition that requires a very intimate understanding. I am sure you know what that means. It is not in your "head". It is real and with real adjustments in understanding. I was told that there is some evidence supporting recovery in 5 - 6 yrs for nerve damage (my first Pain Mgmnt MD who practiced at Mayo Clinic). I waited all the while reporting no relief. I even went to Mayo Clinic for a 2nd opinion (for a pain implant 2 yrs ago). I had to once again go through a very total MRI, and EMG etc, etc, etc. I was told then by the Staff Pain Mgmnt MD there that yes, he had done the implants and he would encourage it but would bow to the discretion of the Chief Neurosurgeon. The Neurosurgeon then told me he would recommend a repeat surgery only, no implant. I was completely confused. I was told he would discuss this further with me (I should call back in a few days for the appt ) after he had received all the past records from the surgery years ago. (they were lost in the black hole of administration). I found them. I called his office back 3 times and he never returned my call. I did however receive a copy of his report of our visit to my primary doctor that he recommended surgery but it was only speculative as to whether it would correct the problem. This was a point that I would have discussed with him had he ever returned my call. If you have to fight with your surgeon what confidence would you have in his "care"? You name it I tried to understand with all these mixed messages. Whether this is something you want to pursue is a choice you could consider and is available. I will just encourage you that if you feel you have to question whether anything is "working" then it's not. Don't question yourself. It will always be a very subjective decision for you and will always be a very personal road for you. I quit all meds two years ago and began to appreciate the true connection that had been masked. One thing so you will understand something of who I am I spent fours years in the USN hospital corps and also trained and received my certificate as a Nuclear Medicine tech so I am very familiar with a range of medical knowledge of understanding in my life. I began to investigate "alternative approaches". I began my search then of acceptance and my own understanding as to what this "mysterious" medically non-treatable condition is about. There is a lot more out there that medicine can not explain than we would like to give credit for. Specifically, I explored Reiki. I mention this to you as an option if you so choose. I went to two highly credentialed attunements through a devote Catholic program. I am a faith based Lutheran. While there I found myself with a group of people (one was a Pediatric Physician who was open to the idea that even he knew the answers he could provide had some limitations in given situations). In fact, I will add there are many medical facilities that have Reiki staff available. I will encourage you to seek the way you feel most comfortable and have you keep in mind all things are different and all things are possible. This may not be helpful to you. It is simply my story.

     
    Old 03-05-2007, 06:22 AM   #4
    LSonge
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    Re: Ulnar nerve problem...PLEASE help!!

    Hello,

    I will share a bit of my experience. I had the ulnar nerve trans-location done 7 yrs ago due to extreme damage. The cause was finally accepted in terms as "repetitive injury". No specific trauma. I followed up with the given encouragement that the nerve repaired itself 1/4" each month and total recovery "if at all" would be a wait and see over 18 mos. After which this time the condition at that time was all there was to be hoped for (this was the surgeon). Well the intense pain relented after surgery but I still have continued numbness and burning. I continued with medical care through a Pain Management Clinic. I had every possible treatment from injections, many, many, over the counter drugs (and methadone), acupuncture, physical therapy, bio-feed back, chiropractic, hypnotism, diet changes, natural herbs, psychologists, and psychiatrists. I had pills for all ills. This is a condition that requires a very intimate understanding. I am sure you know what that means. It is not in your "head". It is real and with real adjustments in understanding. I was told that there is some evidence supporting recovery in 5 - 6 yrs for nerve damage (my first Pain Mgmnt MD). I waited all the while reporting no relief. I even went to Mayo Clinic for a 2nd opinion (for a pain implant 2 yrs ago). I had to once again go through a very total MRI, and EMG etc, etc, etc. I was told then by the Staff Pain Mgmnt MD there that yes, he had done the implants and he would encourage it but would bow to the discretion of the Chief Neurosurgeon. The Neurosurgeon then told me he would recommend a repeat surgery only, no implant. I was completely confused. I was told he would discuss this further with me (I should call back in a few days for the appt ) after he had received all the past records from the surgery years ago. (they were lost in the black hole of administration). I found them. I called his office back 3 times and he never returned my call. I did however receive a copy of his report of our visit to my primary doctor that he recommended surgery but it was only speculative as to whether it would correct the problem. This was a point that I would have discussed with him had he ever returned my call. If you have to fight with your surgeon what confidence would you have in his "care"? You name it I tried to understand with all these mixed messages. Whether this is something you want to pursue is a choice you could consider and is available. I will just encourage you that if you feel you have to question whether anything is "working" then it's not. Don't question yourself. It will always be a very subjective decision for you and will always be a very personal road for you. I quit all meds two years ago and began to appreciate the true connection that had been masked. One thing so you will understand something of who I am I spent fours years in the USN hospital corps and also trained and received my certificate as a Nuclear Medicine tech so I am very familiar with a range of medical knowledge of understanding in my life. I began to investigate "alternative approaches". I began my search then of acceptance and my own understanding as to what this "mysterious" medically non-treatable condition is about. There is a lot more out there that medicine can not explain than we would like to give credit for. Specifically, I explored Reiki. I do not suggest there will be a recovery but only that a whole "well-being" understanding may be promoted and from there more awareness. I mention this to you as an option if you so choose. I went to two highly credentialed attunements through a devote Catholic program. I am a faith based Lutheran. While there I found myself with a group of people (one was a Pediatric Physician who was open to the idea that even he knew the answers he could provide had some limitations in given situations). In fact, I will add there are many medical facilities that have Reiki staff available. I will encourage you to seek the way you feel most comfortable and have you keep in mind all things are different and all things are possible. This may not be helpful to you. It is simply my story.

    Last edited by LSonge; 03-05-2007 at 06:27 AM. Reason: Wanted to copy for records

     
    Old 03-05-2007, 06:28 AM   #5
    LSonge
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    Re: Ulnar nerve problem...PLEASE help!!

    Hello,

    I will share a bit of my experience. I had the ulnar nerve trans-location done 7 yrs ago due to extreme damage. The cause was finally accepted in terms as "repetitive injury". No specific trauma. I followed up with the given encouragement that the nerve repaired itself 1/4" each month and total recovery "if at all" would be a wait and see over 18 mos. After which this time the condition at that time was all there was to be hoped for (this was the surgeon). Well the intense pain relented after surgery but I still have continued numbness and burning. I continued with medical care through a Pain Management Clinic. I had every possible treatment from injections, many, many, over the counter drugs (and methadone), acupuncture, physical therapy, bio-feed back, chiropractic, hypnotism, diet changes, natural herbs, psychologists, and psychiatrists. I had pills for all ills. This is a condition that requires a very intimate understanding. I am sure you know what that means. It is not in your "head". It is real and with real adjustments in understanding. I was told that there is some evidence supporting recovery in 5 - 6 yrs for nerve damage (my first Pain Mgmnt MD who practiced at Mayo Clinic). I waited all the while reporting no relief. I even went to Mayo Clinic for a 2nd opinion (for a pain implant 2 yrs ago). I had to once again go through a very total MRI, and EMG etc, etc, etc. I was told then by the Staff Pain Mgmnt MD there that yes, he had done the implants and he would encourage it but would bow to the discretion of the Chief Neurosurgeon. The Neurosurgeon then told me he would recommend a repeat surgery only, no implant. I was completely confused. I was told he would discuss this further with me (I should call back in a few days for the appt ) after he had received all the past records from the surgery years ago. (they were lost in the black hole of administration). I found them. I called his office back 3 times and he never returned my call. I did however receive a copy of his report of our visit to my primary doctor that he recommended surgery but it was only speculative as to whether it would correct the problem. This was a point that I would have discussed with him had he ever returned my call. If you have to fight with your surgeon what confidence would you have in his "care"? You name it I tried to understand with all these mixed messages. Whether this is something you want to pursue is a choice you could consider and is available. I will just encourage you that if you feel you have to question whether anything is "working" then it's not. Don't question yourself. It will always be a very subjective decision for you and will always be a very personal road for you. I quit all meds two years ago and began to appreciate the true connection that had been masked. One thing so you will understand something of who I am I spent fours years in the USN hospital corps and also trained and received my certificate as a Nuclear Medicine tech so I am very familiar with a range of medical knowledge of understanding in my life. I began to investigate "alternative approaches". I began my search then of acceptance and my own understanding as to what this "mysterious" medically non-treatable condition is about. There is a lot more out there that medicine can not explain than we would like to give credit for. Specifically, I explored Reiki. I mention this to you as an option if you so choose. I went to two highly credentialed attunements through a devote Catholic program. I am a faith based Lutheran. While there I found myself with a group of people (one was a Pediatric Physician who was open to the idea that even he knew the answers he could provide had some limitations in given situations). In fact, I will add there are many medical facilities that have Reiki staff available. I will encourage you to seek the way you feel most comfortable and have you keep in mind all things are different and all things are possible. This may not be helpful to you. It is simply my story.

     
    Old 03-12-2007, 07:05 AM   #6
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    Re: Ulnar nerve problem...PLEASE help!!

    Hello Matt -

    My experience is not as extreme as yours, but I'll throw in my 2 cents worth if it helps. I did not have so much pain as I did lack of sensation and loss of muscle/motor skills in the ulnar side of my left hand. It wouldn't have bothered me so much if I wasn't left-handed. Mine progressed for about 6 months while I tried conservative treatments (splints, elbow pads, change of desk/keyboard positioning, etc). My EMG showed slowing in the signals from the ulnar nerve. We did an MRI to rule out any C8 radiculopathy - no problem there. My primary care doctor, the neurologist and the neurosurgeon all figured the nerve was compressed at the cubital tunnel because of leaning on my elbow at my desk. When nothing conservative helped, we decided to go ahead with surgery. I had subcutaneous ulnar nerve transposition surgery done 3 weeks ago. When the surgeon got in there, he found that the nerve was not compessed at the elbow, but rather in 2 other places (between the bicep and tricep muscles and also where the flexor carpi muscles split). The compression was caused by thickening of the fascial bands - nothing that would have shown up on any xray or MRI and could not be pinpointed on the EMG. I can't yet say if the surgery was a success because there is still considerable numbness and tingling along the arm and into the hand at this point..........they tell me it will decrease over time...........but we all know how slowly nerves regenerate.

    Best wishes with your situation.
    JP

     
    Old 03-22-2007, 07:02 AM   #7
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    Re: Ulnar nerve problem...PLEASE help!!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by matteaton81 View Post
    I am desperate for some answers. I will try to keep this as brief as I can.

    I have suffered from constant pain related to my left ulnar nerve (elbow region, medial one-third of the hand, fourth and fifth fingers) for almost a year now. I have had three MRIs in an attempt to specifically diagnose where the problem is. An MRI of my left elbow showed no swelling, marrow edema, or disruption of ulnar nerve signaling within the cubital tunnel. An MRI of my left brachial plexus showed nothing out of the ordinary. An MRI of my c-spine showed only minimal disc bulging at C5/C6, without any protrusion into my spinal cord (the ulnar nerve doesn't correspond with that disc anyway). The kicker is that I had an EMG, which definitely showed decreased recruitment patterns of two ulnar-innervated muscles and even one median-innervated muscle. Wait, it gets better.

    I have tried the following medications: ibuprofen, tylenol, ultracet, methylprednisolone (medrol dosepak), gabapentin, hydrocodone, and elavil. None of these medications did anything for me (although there is a good possibility that I did not take some of them long enough for them to get all the way into my system). My neurologist speculated that I might have a fibrous band of scar tissue (due to overuse of my elbow?) slightly compressing the nerve (something that won't show up on an MRI), but obviously he wouldn't commit to that. He wanted to leave it alone, but he referred me to a neurosurgeon, who reluctantly agreed to do ulnar nerve release at my elbow (mainly because that is where most of my pain is). I had the surgery back on Jan. 18 and haven't started feeling any relief from it yet, unfortunately. The neurosurgeon said he didn't see any scar tissue on the nerve at my elbow. All he said he saw was that the nerve looked slightly skinny as it passed through the two heads of flexor carpi ulnaris. The next step would be to try an ulnar nerve transposition, which I would love to avoid if possible. So what I want to know is this. Do you folks have ANY idea as to what could be wrong with me? Like I said, the MRI showed that I have decreased recruitment patterns to ulnar-innervated muscles, but NO OBVIOUS SIGNS OF NERVE ENTRAPMENT. Can a person just develop ulnar neuropathy out of the blue? Or is there something wrong with me that is really obscure, something that only someone at the Cleveland Clinic could diagnose?
    I have went though 4 doctors trying to telling me their was nothing wrong. I injured myself at work. They tried Theopy, Cortizone injections (8) temp. relief. I had many EMGs, nothing showed up, MRIs all looked ok. I finally, After 4 yrs in pain I had exploritory sergury done. They foundthe groove in the elbow was a little damaged, they cleaned it up and all was fine for about 7 mths. ,The pain returned. After theoropy the pain was worst they did get another apinion. The 2 nd. surgery they cut the bone out to relieve the nerve, that worked for about 1 yr. The nerve is now blocked worst, the last step is nerve transposition. I desperat for relief. I hope this gives you something to go on.

     
    Old 03-22-2007, 10:38 AM   #8
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    Re: Ulnar nerve problem...PLEASE help!!

    Someone should do an MRI of your shoulder!

     
    Old 03-22-2007, 11:23 AM   #9
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    Re: Ulnar nerve problem...PLEASE help!!

    Its possible that a problem in your shoulder is pinching a nerve of some sort. Physical therapy might help locate the problem and could possibly show you excersises to give relief to the nerve(s).

    Last edited by PearlDoves; 03-30-2007 at 01:06 AM.

     
    Old 03-30-2007, 12:45 AM   #10
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    Re: Ulnar nerve problem...PLEASE help!!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by LSonge View Post
    There is a lot more out there that medicine can not explain than we would like to give credit for. Specifically, I explored Reiki. I mention this to you as an option if you so choose. I went to two highly credentialed attunements through a devote Catholic program. I am a faith based Lutheran. While there I found myself with a group of people (one was a Pediatric Physician who was open to the idea that even he knew the answers he could provide had some limitations in given situations). In fact, I will add there are many medical facilities that have Reiki staff available. I will encourage you to seek the way you feel most comfortable and have you keep in mind all things are different and all things are possible. This may not be helpful to you. It is simply my story.

    Just a clarification in case it is not understood - Reiki has no direct relationship theologically/scripturally with Catholicism/Christianity, Judaism or Islam and is prohibited by them. Being that this is taught at a church, it should be contested, as they may not be aware of their compromise. I myself practiced reiki for a time with great devotion and wanted to help people, but to make a long story short, I found that it is not what it seems - dangerous and had to get help. I would strongly advise people to avoid reiki whether it be for medical reasons, religiously or any other purpose, and would encourage those practicing to stop. I say this in hopes of sparing some grief to those involved or curious.

    Last edited by PearlDoves; 03-30-2007 at 12:52 AM.

     
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