Category: Nerves | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: June 16, 2015
We talk a lot about nerves on this blog because they are absolutely essential for the brain to transmit signals to the various areas of the body. Unfortunately, nerves often get pinched, entrapped, or damaged. Generally, we focus on the nerves that pass through the spinal column. In this article, we will discuss the ulnar nerves (which run from the neck down the arms) and how they can be affected by spinal conditions and injuries.
What are the Ulnar Nerves?
The ulnar nerves are located in the arms – running from the hand all the way up the arm and to the spinal column in the neck region. These are the nerves that carry sensations, and pain signals to your arm, forearm, wrist, hand, etc.
Ulnar Nerve Entrapment
The most common condition involving the ulnar nerves is called ulnar nerve entrapment. This occurs when the ulnar nerve gets compressed by a surrounding structure. The most common areas in which the ulnar nerves can become entrapped are:
- The elbow (this is known as cubital tunnel syndrome)
- The wrist
- The collarbone
- The neck, as the nerve passes out of the cervical spine
When the ulnar nerve become entrapped, the patient can experience pain, numbness, or loss of feeling in the fingers, hand, wrist, elbow, or arm.
Treating Entrapped Nerves
Treatment of entrapped nerves depends significantly on the area of entrapment, as well as the patient in question. Some pinched nerves will resolve with conservative options (pain medications, bracing, rest) given enough time. Other times, surgical intervention is required to free up the nerves and avoid serious complications.
If you are experiencing numbness, loss of sensation, or loss of your ability to move your hand, arm, or fingers, contact a physician right away. Early detection and treatment is necessary to avoid permanent nerve damage.