As you read this, are you sitting at your computer with your elbows bent at ninety degrees or more? Do you always hold your cell as you talk or sleep at night with an elbow bent?
If you answered yes to either of these, you may be at risk for cubital tunnel syndrome. In truth, you may already be suffering from it. If so, here are a few ways you can avoid pain caused by cubital tunnel syndrome!
The Important Ulnar Nerve
The ulnar nerve is one of the three main nerves in your arm, and it runs from your neck down to your hand and fingers giving a sensation in your ring finger and little fingers. The ulnar nerve is also known as the funny bone nerve which provides gripping power in your hand. It passes through an opening in your elbow, which is known as the cubital tunnel. In fact, another name for cubital tunnel syndrome is ulnar nerve entrapment or compression.
If the nerve becomes compressed or entrapped in the tunnel, it results in tingling and numbing of the ring finger and little fingers. Other symptoms include pain and burning in the forearm, aching on the inside of the elbow, and weakness in your hands.
This condition is not to be confused with carpal tunnel syndrome. The carpal tunnel is in the wrist and affects the thumb, index, and long fingers.
Typical Causes Of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
The two most common causes of cubital tunnel syndrome are as follows:
- If you have experienced fractures or dislocations at the elbow.
- If your elbow often swells, or you have recurring bone spurs.
The primary reason is due to the compression or entrapment of the nerve in the cubital tunnel due to these issues.
What You Can Do
The most important thing you can do to relieve any symptoms is to change activities that are contributing to cubital tunnel syndrome. Be conscious of daily activities and make some adjustments like the following:
- While working on a computer be sure your chair is high enough to avoid bent elbows.
- Avoid bent elbows at night by using a towel or splint around your elbow while you sleep.
- Avoid resting your elbow on arm rests for any length of time or leaning on your elbows.
- If you must talk on a cell phone for long periods, use a headset.
- Avoid resting your elbow on the open window while driving.
- Take anti-inflammatory medications for any occasional discomfort.
- See Pain Management Partners if your symptoms persist longer than 6 weeks.
If left untreated, cubital tunnel syndrome can lead to serious functional issues. It’s important to contact Pain Management Partners if you feel that you’re experiencing pain related to cubital tunnel syndrome. Call (541) 344-8469 to make your appointment today!