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  #1  
Old 02-09-2019, 01:32 AM
austro1 austro1 is offline
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Default Anyone survived Ulnar Nerve Entrapment?

Hi. I've been dealing with some pain right at the rt. elbow. Found out it's U. Nerve entrapment.

I got it from playing a Dreadnought one time for about an hour. I've had it now about 1 1/2 months.

It is very localized at the elbow and I only feel pain doing certain movements.
I don't have any numbness or tingling in hands, fingers.

Dr. of course said ideal thing is to take a break for probably at least a month.
Stupid thing is I have 1 important Gig first week of April where I have to learn about 40 fingerstyle tunes.

If I were to take at least a month off, it would give me a short amount of time to work on my setlist. I'm afraid the pain would come back anyway as a result.

Or I just quit playing altogether for some months and cancel the Gig....but that bugs me because I know they'll never ask me back again, and it's a good gig. What a drag this stuff!

Anyone who has survived this stuff?

Last edited by austro1; 02-09-2019 at 02:31 AM.
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Old 02-09-2019, 02:49 AM
kkrell kkrell is offline
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You could try these exercises for ulnar nerve flossing:
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Old 02-09-2019, 02:56 AM
byudzai byudzai is offline
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My piano teacher had it so bad she needed the surgery where they move the nerve to the other side of the bone. Took her a year or more to recover but she just played a full concert. So it's possible!
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Old 02-09-2019, 05:56 AM
fuman fuman is offline
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You're going to think this sounds stupid, but try one of those copper compression sleeves. It's cheap enough that if it doesn't work you're not going to have risked or lost anything major, and it was helpful to me for a (probably lesser, and never diagnosed) significant elbow pain issue. I figured I would try it and return it when it didn't work, but it was surprisingly effective.
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Old 02-09-2019, 06:00 AM
EarlG EarlG is offline
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I am very sorry to hear of your injury. Several years ago I damaged the Ulnar in both arms on one of my construction sites. After that, even fraction movements were indescribably painful. I tried exercises like the above, but they only intensified the pain dramatically and still do. I also attempted the towel method to keep my arms in position at night, but that was counterproductive as I fought them subconsciously in my sleep. B12 injections were of no benefit, either. I was determined not to have surgery, so for a few months I took a break from playing and lived with the blinding pain for about two years. After that the symptoms improved dramatically. I don't suggest that everyone follows my approach, but I am coping.

To this day I find that excessive typing on a physical keyboard, lifting heavy things and strong twisting motions, will bring on the pain for several days. Ibuprofen does help, but I avoid it as much as possible. I can now play normally again without pain, so long as I do so consistently. Now, taking a break for a few days means pain for several more until it dissipates.

I believe every situation is unique, but I would recommend a good break at the very onset of this type of condition. And when you start playing again try to avoid inducing vibrato with your fret hand of the arm that is injured, and excessive stretching of the fingers. Light gauge strings and detuning can also help. Further, I find it best to play standing up. Posture does make a significant difference.

I wish you well and trust that this ordeal will soon pass. I have learned to appreciate that life is worth far more than music, and that with time and patience all things are possible by grace.
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Last edited by EarlG; 02-09-2019 at 06:50 AM.
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Old 02-09-2019, 06:44 AM
sevenpalms sevenpalms is online now
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Thanks for this post!!! I’ve been experiencing the same thing...even sold my SC Tony Rice. It started when I got the dread and have since gone down to 00 size. Looking forward to reading more replies!!!
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Old 02-09-2019, 06:53 AM
Aaron Smith Aaron Smith is offline
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You should visit with an orthopedic hand doctor. If it’s really an entrapment, it didn’t start with you playing a dreadnaught, it was probably there to begin with. It is likely that whatever changed in your posture when you switched guitars irritated the nerve and caused inflammation.

I’ll tell you what I’m 90% sure your doctor would tell you: rest, ice, stretching. Possibly physical therapy if the pain persists.
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Old 02-09-2019, 07:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Smith View Post
You should visit with an orthopedic hand doctor. If it’s really an entrapment, it didn’t start with you playing a dreadnaught, it was probably there to begin with. It is likely that whatever changed in your posture when you switched guitars irritated the nerve and caused inflammation.

I’ll tell you what I’m 90% sure your doctor would tell you: rest, ice, stretching. Possibly physical therapy if the pain persists.

I'm dealing with this issue at the present.
Long story short, the therapy didn't work on me, my doctor ordered a nerve test and found the both of my elbows had severe compression.
On August 2018 I had surgery on my right elbow and on December 2018 had surgery on my left elbow. I had to stop playing guitar for about 5 weeks after the first surgery, then started playing again. The same with the second surgery. I have no pain and I'm able to play like I did before.
The compression had nothing to do with playing guitar, more like how we sleep with our elbows and wrists bent.

It will only get worse, have it checked out before you start feeling numbness and lose strength which is how I found out that I had a problem initially.

God's speed.
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Old 02-09-2019, 07:15 AM
Golffishny Golffishny is offline
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I had that a few years ago. It got so bad I was losing use of my left hand, fingers wouldn't work. They would cramp up at times and I had to work them for several minutes to loosen them. I had surgery and after a couple years my use is about 90% normal. I started playing lightly 3 months after the surgery. If I bump it or even place it on a hard surface as a table I feel the sharp jab in my elbow. A padded arm chair also if the wood support is lightly padded.

After my surgery i researched it further and found I possibly could have lessened the symptoms. First do not rest your elbows on a hard surface, it really aggravates the nerve. Do easy stretching several times a day. Use ice or NSAID to reduce swelling if it gets painful. I ended up selling my Taylor since the thin neck caused cramping in my fretting hand. V-necks don't work for me either. Find what really fits you. Before the problem I played everything.

I still have to avoid resting on my elbows since the nerve was moved out of its pocket. I wish I had known these things before going for surgery. I don't know if it could have been avoided, but I would rather try. Be aware and honest about what causes your problem. Wish you well. And I'm not a doctor and don't play one on TV.
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Old 02-09-2019, 07:58 AM
waterboy waterboy is offline
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I needed to have the surgery on both of my arms - I ignored it for too long until I dropped a pan on myself. The last one was about 5 years ago and it was only about a year ago that I found that the dexterity had returned to the extent that I could start to play again. I still have some loss of sensation.
My advice -
don't ignore it, see if you can get the nerve conduction test done, it is definitive.
Lots of good advice on avoidance in this thread.
Try a smaller bodied guitar, different angle might help.
When I was able to play again I got a really light setup on my guitar.
If surgery is indicated get a good doctor. If you're in the northeast i can recommend a great one.
Don't rush the recovery - you can do yourself damage.I
After the surgery you will come home with elbows that "aren't yours". the shape and feel changes - It's really odd. You will need to protect them from the cold (mine ache if I dont).
Good luck, I hope it works out for you.
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Old 02-09-2019, 08:09 AM
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Quote:
After the surgery you will come home with elbows that "aren't yours". the shape and feel changes - It's really odd. You will need to protect them from the cold (mine ache if I dont).
Very true.
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Old 02-09-2019, 08:41 AM
marklm marklm is offline
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See if you can find a good occupational therapist. Two years ago I was in the same boat, lots of pain from playing guitar. The OT made me a thumb splint, and a splint to keep my arm straight at night, both inexpensive. She gave me exercises and I marvel that after a couple of months that I am totally pain and limitation free, and can do what I want at 63 years of age. Ad I play complex fingerstyle with a lot of insane reaches across long fret distances, no limitation.


The other thing that I did may or may not be related. I got the neck up high in the classical position again with the aid of a neck lift.


My wife who is a PT and I as the doc used to work in rehabbing orthopedic injuries. Just my 2 cents, but I have seen for decades that a doc needs to diagnose, but consider therapy first with an excellent therapist if possible. You really have nothing to lose, and can always go to more invasive measures alter. If you would need surgery, it will be much easier and with a better prognosis. But my hunch is that OT might work well for you.
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Old 02-09-2019, 08:50 AM
marklm marklm is offline
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Default Forgot one thing

Sorry, but I forgot, I am still doing the prescribed stretches to prevent recurrence as well,
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Old 02-09-2019, 09:43 AM
waterboy waterboy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marklm View Post
See if you can find a good occupational therapist. Two years ago I was in the same boat, lots of pain from playing guitar. The OT made me a thumb splint, and a splint to keep my arm straight at night, both inexpensive. She gave me exercises and I marvel that after a couple of months that I am totally pain and limitation free, and can do what I want at 63 years of age. Ad I play complex fingerstyle with a lot of insane reaches across long fret distances, no limitation.


The other thing that I did may or may not be related. I got the neck up high in the classical position again with the aid of a neck lift.


My wife who is a PT and I as the doc used to work in rehabbing orthopedic injuries. Just my 2 cents, but I have seen for decades that a doc needs to diagnose, but consider therapy first with an excellent therapist if possible. You really have nothing to lose, and can always go to more invasive measures alter. If you would need surgery, it will be much easier and with a better prognosis. But my hunch is that OT might work well for you.
THIS^^^^ The surgery is very invasive and worth avoiding if OT works for you, but if it doesn't....... (I'm not a doctor, etc,etc) the important thing is not to leave it too long before getting help.
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Old 02-09-2019, 09:55 AM
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Quote:
THIS^^^^ The surgery is very invasive and worth avoiding if OT works for you, but if it doesn't....... (I'm not a doctor, etc,etc) the important thing is not to leave it too long before getting help.
You need to have it checked out, it will not fix itself and IF it's already compressed, therapy will do little to fix the issue.

BTW. surgery was not that bad. It was done outpatient. I'm not playing it down, I'm just saying compared to back and shoulder surgery that I've had, not too bad and I'm doing great now, the strength is coming back and all numbness is gone.

See a doctor.
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