cubital tunnel syndrome

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
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bear
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cubital tunnel syndrome

Post by bear » Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:50 pm

cubital tunnel syndrome sucks. I suspect I have it. I'm seeing a neurologist next week. I had carpal tunnel in both hands several years ago and was able to do some exercises and it went away.
There are several possible causes of cubital tunnel and unfortunately I can not rule any of them out. I'm expecting a series of tests, since I tend to be data based in situations like this I feel sorry for those who attempt to treat me.
Last edited by bear on Sat Apr 15, 2017 1:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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lagartija
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Re: cubital tunnel syndrome

Post by lagartija » Sat Apr 15, 2017 12:55 am

I'm so sorry to hear of your trouble ...
:discussion:
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Marshall Dixon
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Re: cubital tunnel syndrome

Post by Marshall Dixon » Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:18 am

I had surgery for that last November. As well as the carpal tunnel probelm, both of the left arm. It was pretty bad before I finally had the surgery. Diagnosis was with nerve conduction studies.

My doctor told me that as nerves regenerate at a rate of 1 mm per day, it would take about a year for me to get over the discomfort, as the ulnar nerve from the elbow to the figertip is about 360 mm in length.

Playing the guitar is supposedly good therapy, but some barre chords involving stretches can bring things to a halt. I really need to concentrate on relaxed playing... hard to do.

Must say, though, it's much better than before the surgery, and improving.

Good luck with your situation.

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Re: cubital tunnel syndrome

Post by bear » Sat Apr 15, 2017 1:10 pm

lagartija wrote:I'm so sorry to hear of your trouble ...
:discussion:
Thank you, just another bump in the road. At least it won't effect my dream of becoming a prima ballerina.
Marshall Dixon wrote:I had surgery for that last November. As well as the carpal tunnel probelm, both of the left arm. It was pretty bad before I finally had the surgery. Diagnosis was with nerve conduction studies.

My doctor told me that as nerves regenerate at a rate of 1 mm per day, it would take about a year for me to get over the discomfort, as the ulnar nerve from the elbow to the figertip is about 360 mm in length.

Playing the guitar is supposedly good therapy, but some barre chords involving stretches can bring things to a halt. I really need to concentrate on relaxed playing... hard to do.

Must say, though, it's much better than before the surgery, and improving.

Good luck with your situation.
Thank You. It's in my right arm. I shattered that elbow about 4o years ago and about 30% was removed (medial) so I'm not sue what it looks like in there. I'm muscular and have been able to compensate. The only noticeable difference is that I cannot fully straighten the arm. It's bent as if I had my hand in my pants pocket.
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Re: cubital tunnel syndrome

Post by bear » Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:54 pm

So, here's the update and synopsis.
The numbness has been a reoccurring problem for years, however, only at night while sleeping. If, I have my arm bent or over my head, I will wake with pain in my right hand mainly in the pinky and ring finger. I would straighten my arm by my side and the pain would go away. I have made an effort to sleep that way and no problems.
There has not been an issue while awake until a couple of months ago. I began exhibiting symptoms while playing, typing and eating. The symptoms began to worsen forcing me to type and eat left handed. Last week my attempt at playing lasted 2mins.. The pain and loss of coordination forced me to stop.
Since then I've made a couple of changes with positive results. The first, was my exercise routine. I normally do 100 pushups per day - stopped.
I began using a heating pad on my forearm/elbow a couple of times per day along with a vibrating cushion. I massage the forearm and roll it on a tennis ball several times per day. The first time I used the tennis ball it felt like bubble wrap and there was an immediate relief but not an immediate cure. I have gout and instead of taking the prescribed indocin I have had excellent results with black cherries when eaten at the first twinge and for a couple of days following. So, it's a shot, it won't hurt.
I avoid leaning on my elbow, forearm and I continue to type and eat left handed. I don't take anything for pain, I need to know better/worse and masking the pain interferes with that judgement.
Yesterday, I was able to play for 2 hours, it was my back that made me put the guitar down. There is still some discomfort in the hand and arm but I'm thinking the problem may not be related to cg. I should also note that I wear a child's shin guard on my forearm to protect the nerve from guitar pressure. Overall, there has been improvement.
I saw a neurologist today and was examined. Due to the improvement over the past week, further intervention is on the back burner. If, within a reasonable among of time I have not regained full function then nerve conduction and/or physical therapy.
2013 Jeff Medlin '37 Hauser 640mm sp
2006 Michele Della Guistina Concert 10 string 650mm ce
2005 Jose Ramirez 4E 650mm ce
2005 Manuel Rodriguez Model C3F 650mm sp
2003 Manuel Rodriguez Model D 650mm ce

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Re: cubital tunnel syndrome

Post by hilm3g » Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:26 pm

Thank you for this. I am glad to see improvement. I share a few of your symptoms with you, but much milder I believe.
I too would wake with right hand problems from sleeping with my wrist bent. Apparently, it is one of my subconscious's favorite positions! I started wearing a wrist strap at night, the kind used for carpal tunnel syndrome that have a built-in stiff plate to keep the wrist from bending. Worked wonders for me. I do nothing to "exercise" or "strengthen" my wrist or fingers. My research indicated that they often cause more harm than good. Pianists have ruined careers using those finger exercisers that look like trumpet pistons.

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Re: cubital tunnel syndrome

Post by Marshall Dixon » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:55 pm

Good luck bear!

Good to hear you played for 2 hours yesterday. Are you using ice compresses?

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Re: cubital tunnel syndrome

Post by bear » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:50 pm

Marshall Dixon wrote:Good luck bear!

Good to hear you played for 2 hours yesterday. Are you using ice compresses?
RICE then a vibrating heating pad. I played for about a half hour today. The pain does not seem to be secondary to playing but if symptoms are in evidence then anything that I do makes it worse. At this point, I'm leaning toward the damaged elbow catching up with me and rebelling over the pushups. Very early in the game, though. The researcher in me wants to do an ABAB design and do some pushups, but "my momma didn't raise no ignorant children".
If, playing were the cause then yesterday should have put me over the edge.
Since I was going to neuro today, I wanted to see if I could aggravate the arm and hand by playing longer than would be sensible. The hand and arm felt pretty good after playing. I could have played longer today but quit early with no pain increase while playing.
So, the past few days there has been a range of an awareness (a dog's paw on your foot) to a discomfort (broken knuckle). This is much better than the hand in the vise feeling last week.
The testing today was basic but encouraging.
Thanks for the interest, especially since you've been down this road- or one like it.
2013 Jeff Medlin '37 Hauser 640mm sp
2006 Michele Della Guistina Concert 10 string 650mm ce
2005 Jose Ramirez 4E 650mm ce
2005 Manuel Rodriguez Model C3F 650mm sp
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Cubital tunnel or trigger points?

Post by SunnyDee » Sat Apr 22, 2017 8:21 pm

I was having very similar issues as bear but more tingling than pain, but at the same times. Some days I could play fine, other days every few minutes the hand/arm would start to go numb, but, for many reasons I didn't really think it was carpal or cubital. Still I was getting worried. However, I think I've figured out that it was actually caused by a pinched nerve coming from trigger points or tight muscles in my back and neck. After focusing on this and making a concentrated effort for a few days to relax the muscles, the symptoms have stopped for maybe a week now, a long time compared to what was happening. I've been careful to play relaxed and in good position, to avoid muscle strain, etc. Now that I'm aware of it, I can feel the muscle in my back contracting and trying to knot up and I do some massage or re-positioning etc to keep it relaxed as well as judicious use of ibuprofen and, well, the occasional small shot of tequila doesn't seem to do any harm either. When I was researching this, I saw a few sites that said this may often be the case - that trigger points make people think they have carpal or cubital. Anyway, for now, I am much less nervous about it and the playing seems to be much better. Thought I'd put it out there for anyone who might like to try light massage of the back or neck. I wouldn't think it could do any harm to try. The tennis ball under the shoulder blade seemed to be the most effective in releasing the trigger point for me.
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Re: Cubital tunnel or trigger points?

Post by bear » Sun Apr 23, 2017 2:19 pm

SunnyDee wrote:I was having very similar issues as bear but more tingling than pain, but at the same times. Some days I could play fine, other days every few minutes the hand/arm would start to go numb, but, for many reasons I didn't really think it was carpal or cubital. Still I was getting worried. However, I think I've figured out that it was actually caused by a pinched nerve coming from trigger points or tight muscles in my back and neck. After focusing on this and making a concentrated effort for a few days to relax the muscles, the symptoms have stopped for maybe a week now, a long time compared to what was happening. I've been careful to play relaxed and in good position, to avoid muscle strain, etc. Now that I'm aware of it, I can feel the muscle in my back contracting and trying to knot up and I do some massage or re-positioning etc to keep it relaxed as well as judicious use of ibuprofen and, well, the occasional small shot of tequila doesn't seem to do any harm either. When I was researching this, I saw a few sites that said this may often be the case - that trigger points make people think they have carpal or cubital. Anyway, for now, I am much less nervous about it and the playing seems to be much better. Thought I'd put it out there for anyone who might like to try light massage of the back or neck. I wouldn't think it could do any harm to try. The tennis ball under the shoulder blade seemed to be the most effective in releasing the trigger point for me.
The tennis ball on my forearm made an immediate difference. as i said i shattered the elbow there may be adhesions and bone fragments. When i pressed on the "tunnel" with my thumb, it felt like a sharp bruise.
i'm still doing most things left handed and using heating pad, vibrator, ball. i practice for only 1/2 hour per day, even though i think i could do more.
My assumption is that there is some inflammation that may take a few weeks to mend. i know that the massage et. al. may be prolonging the inflammation but the adhesions must be broken up.
Given the unique anatomy of my elbow (there are no pins/screws or plates) and i'm missing a lot of the bone that is proximal to the nerve, it should be interesting.
2013 Jeff Medlin '37 Hauser 640mm sp
2006 Michele Della Guistina Concert 10 string 650mm ce
2005 Jose Ramirez 4E 650mm ce
2005 Manuel Rodriguez Model C3F 650mm sp
2003 Manuel Rodriguez Model D 650mm ce

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Re: Cubital tunnel or trigger points?

Post by SunnyDee » Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:44 pm

bear wrote: The tennis ball on my forearm made an immediate difference. as i said i shattered the elbow there may be adhesions and bone fragments. When i pressed on the "tunnel" with my thumb, it felt like a sharp bruise.
i'm still doing most things left handed and using heating pad, vibrator, ball. i practice for only 1/2 hour per day, even though i think i could do more.
My assumption is that there is some inflammation that may take a few weeks to mend. i know that the massage et. al. may be prolonging the inflammation but the adhesions must be broken up.
Given the unique anatomy of my elbow (there are no pins/screws or plates) and i'm missing a lot of the bone that is proximal to the nerve, it should be interesting.
Certainly you have other issues. I wish you all the best for complete recovery.

For others reading, I was also able to extend practice by doing something that is probably unthinkable in classical play, but I tuned the guitar down a whole step and capo on the 2nd fret, to shorten the scale. It was the stretch on the farthest frets that seemed to cause me the most hand strain. It's dorky, but I can play for much longer at a time now.
"Militantly left-handed."

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Taylor 320e Baritone

First guitar was a vintage Russian 7-string classical.

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Re: cubital tunnel syndrome

Post by eno » Sun Apr 30, 2017 2:09 am

There is a cranial electro-stimulatior device called Alpha-Stim, it was designed primarily for depression but works really well for neurological problems. I used it for back pain that I often had in the past and it always helped better that anything else. It's not cheap though.
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Re: cubital tunnel syndrome

Post by bear » Sun Apr 30, 2017 1:23 pm

eno wrote:There is a cranial electro-stimulatior device called Alpha-Stim, it was designed primarily for depression but works really well for neurological problems. I used it for back pain that I often had in the past and it always helped better that anything else. It's not cheap though.
Thank you, I'll check it out.
2013 Jeff Medlin '37 Hauser 640mm sp
2006 Michele Della Guistina Concert 10 string 650mm ce
2005 Jose Ramirez 4E 650mm ce
2005 Manuel Rodriguez Model C3F 650mm sp
2003 Manuel Rodriguez Model D 650mm ce

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