If you have ever hit your funny bone and experienced that shock-like sensation, you have experienced ulnar nerve stimulation. The ulnar nerve, which runs from the shoulder to the fingers, is responsible for sensation and controlling the muscles that allow movement in the hand. When the nerve becomes compressed at the wrist, ulnar tunnel syndrome is the result, causing numbness and tingling in the middle and little finger.
What causes ulnar nerve damage?
The exact cause of ulnar nerve dysfunction may not always be clear for every patient. However, the following are common causes of damage:
- Illnesses that damage the nerves
- Injuries to the nerve
- Excessive pressure on the nerve
- Nerve pressure due to excessive swelling
- Elbow fracture of dislocation
Exercises for pain relief
Nerve flossing and tensioning exercises can help relieve pain and release the ulnar nerve from its surrounding tissues. The goal is to make sure that the nerve is being pulled back and forth, creating tension and sliding in different directions.
Arm flexion in front of the body
Start out by having the affected arm bent with your palm facing you. Grab your two outer fingers and slowly pull them away from your body while stretching your arm forward. You can either have your head down or pull it back. Hold this position for 10 seconds and release.
Palm over ear
Take your hand out to the side with your wrist facing upwards. Bring the palm in and place it around your ear. You want to keep the crease of your wrist up against your head. Repeat up to five times on the affected side.
Reach the affected arm out to the side, keeping your elbow straight. Turn your hand up toward the ceiling and slowly tilt your head away from your hand until you start to feel a stretch.
You can either sit in a firm chair or stand up straight for this exercise. Keep your chin leveled and slowly turn your head to the right, holding this position for 15 seconds. Turn your head to the left and hold. Repeat this exercise 2 to 4 times.
Wrist flexion and extension
Place your forearm on a table with your affected hand and wrist extended beyond the table, palm down. Slowly bend your wrist upward, closing your hand into a fist. Then lower your hand and allow your fingers to relax. Repeat this exercise 6 to 8 times.
It is important to speak with a healthcare professional before practicing these exercises. Here at Brain2Spine Institute, we are dedicated to providing the highest quality of service and care to our patients. If you are experiencing ulnar nerve pain, call us at (727) 500-2318 to schedule your appointment.