Do you suffer from muscle weakness, tingling, numbness, or pain in the hand? If so, you may have a condition involving nerve compression.
The big question is… which nerve is it?
There are 3 nerves that give sensation to the hand:
- Ulnar nerve
- Radial nerve
- Median nerve
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome/Ulnar Nerve Compression is a nerve related condition associated with muscle weakness, tingling, numbness, and pain in the hand involving half of the ring finger (4th digit) and the pinky finger (5th digit). The site of compression of the ulnar nerve typically occurs at the elbow. The name of the area is typically known as the “funny bone”.
It is commonly found in individuals who do a lot of repetitive work involving the elbow or in individuals who sustain a bent elbow position. This can lead to irritation of the ulnar nerve at the elbow resulting in neurological symptoms.
An example of this is in individuals who sleep with their elbows bent. Because of the sustained bent elbow position, individuals may find that they wake up to numbness in their hands; however, when taken out of the position, the sensation gradually returns in the hand. Typically, this condition is only problematic if it wakes you up at night or if these sensations are experienced throughout the day.
Symptoms of Ulnar Nerve Compression:
- Tingling/numbness in the hand (half of the 4th digit and the 5th digit)
- Decreased grip strength
- Pain in the hand
While the elbow is the common site of irritation for the nerve, there are other possible locations that can be causing the symptoms to occur. Because the ulnar nerve originates from the neck, there are many potential sites for compression before it reaches the hand – the neck, shoulder, elbow, and wrist. Consequently, each area needs to be ruled out or dealt with in order to fully resolve the symptoms.
At Movement Performance Centre, our physiotherapists are trained to help resolve your ulnar nerve symptoms by assessing and treating each potential site of compression to ensure that the nerve is able to function optimally. Depending on the root cause of the ulnar nerve compression, different strategies will be employed to resolve the issue. Possible treatments may include:
- Stretching and Soft Tissue Release
- Increasing mobility of the spine
- Strengthening of the neck, shoulder, elbow, or wrist muscles.
- Identifying and treating factors affecting but are external to the affected arm
If you have any questions or need treatment, give us a call to see how we can get you moving back to your normal life.
Author: Zachary Hum MScPT BAKin