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Filip

 

Posts: 115
Joined: Apr. 23 2006
From: Madrid

Left hand ulnar nerve 

Hi all,

I have some problems with the ulnar nerve on my left hand. As a consequence, part of my arm from elbow below, including pinky and ring fingers, often get numb even if I don't do anything. When I play the guitar, I notice the lack of strength and precision. Although I can still play, I think I lost a bit of skills.

I went to see a doctor and he advised to try not to bend the arm too much, and not to play the guitar for two months and then go see him again.

Did anyone have similar experience, or you know of similar one?

Cheers

P.S. I don't know exactly what have caused the damage, but it is not the guitar playing (I don't play that much, just as a hobby). Probably it has to do with my desk at work, but I will still see. Anyway, I think it is not so worrying, at least not right now, but it affects a little.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2014 10:20:15
 
Pimientito

Posts: 2477
Joined: Jul. 30 2007
From: Marbella

RE: Left hand ulnar nerve (in reply to Filip

Hi Filip. I had a similar problem last year. A lot of players get worried that these type of symptoms are due to nerve damage in the hand or wrist but this is not the most common cause.
The pins and needles/loss of strength in my hands came on especially when driving or using the computor and it was basically due to over tight muscles in my lower neck and shoulder blades. I had a few physiotherapy sessions to loosen the muscles in the upper back and shoulders. You have to find someone who does remedial massage and knows about myofascial trigger ponts. The treatments hurt like hell and I was pretty sore for a couple of days afterwards but it completely got rid of the pain and pins and needles after 2 or 3 sessions.
Acupunture can also be useful as well.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 31 2014 10:01:16
 
Ruphus

Posts: 3398
Joined: Nov. 18 2010
 

RE: Left hand ulnar nerve (in reply to Filip

I could show you how to completely release muscles in neck and shoulder blades by treating according receptor points. However, it should be more useful to remove the problem of those cramped muscles causally.

That muscle complex is usually / largely tensioned because of:

#
Imbalance of front and rear apparatus, with front muscles like of stomach and breast being shortened and their counter parts on the back being thin and slack.

#
The imbalance resulting in a bend-over posture ( later hunchback), which will be countered by neck muscles enhanced pulling back of the head.
With the constant pulling of the head the neck muscles thicken and shorten. Which again results in pressure on nerves emitting from upper spine.

So, what could be most useful to do?

#
Shorten your backs muscles. ->


#
Train your front neck / throat muscles.
Lying on your back, pull your chin strongly towards chest. However, without lifting your back head too much. The back of your head should stay hovering very closely over the ground / mattress.
Keep the chin pulled while watching out to:
- not press your jaws.
- not engage / lift your shoulders from ground.

Focus on contracting the throat only. Do so for as long as you can. When your head starts shivering, you know to be on the right way.
When finished, your head will feel as if it was weightless.

Repeat the exercise twice or three times that day. Don´t do next day. Only execute every second day.

You will sense very soon how it contributes to a straight posture, how your neck / shoulderblade region muscles will normalize and lastly, the appealing effect of your throat becoming strong and muscular, with besides double chins being reduced too.

Ruphus

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 31 2014 11:22:41
 
Filip

 

Posts: 115
Joined: Apr. 23 2006
From: Madrid

RE: Left hand ulnar nerve (in reply to Filip

Hi Pimiento,

Thank you very much for the response.
I don't think my nerve is damaged, which is a good thing. Most probably, it is due to my position at work (8h every day at the desk in front of a computer, on Mac, so there is a couple of spots on my hand that takes pressure from the table and laptop itself).

Anyhow, I am taking better care now and I will see what the doctor will say, hopefully my hand gets back to normal soon. I will also try do what you told me, unless the trouble does not go away soon.

Cheers
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 31 2014 11:29:42
 
Escribano

Posts: 5625
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England

RE: Left hand ulnar nerve (in reply to Pimientito

As a qualified Radiographer, I can chip in a bit:

The ulnar nerve arises from the cervical-thoracic spine (C8-T1) and can be trapped by the spine, clavicle, elbow or wrist joint. Most common is elbow entrapment or cubital tunnel syndrome, which is what you seem to be suffering from.

This is a useful reference with some home exercises specific to this condition.

You might consider a visit to an osteopath. They are masters of gentle manipulation and can be of great help.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 31 2014 11:34:47
 
Filip

 

Posts: 115
Joined: Apr. 23 2006
From: Madrid

RE: Left hand ulnar nerve (in reply to Filip

Ruphus and Escribano,

Thank you guys a lot for the advices.
I am also trying to work in different position now, and lets see if with the exercises my hand gets better soon :) Although I am not any good player, I miss the guitar in my hands.

Cheers
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 1 2014 9:43:28
 
cristina

 

Posts: 47
Joined: Mar. 7 2014
 

RE: Left hand ulnar nerve (in reply to Filip

bad news Filip :-( - get well soon!

The experiences from you all - and the link from Escribano! - First class, Thanks.
(I've alwas thought, that this comes from smoking)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 1 2014 19:03:56
 
Filip

 

Posts: 115
Joined: Apr. 23 2006
From: Madrid

RE: Left hand ulnar nerve (in reply to Filip

Thank you Cristina!


quote:

The experiences from you all - and the link from Escribano! - First class

Indeed!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 1 2014 20:15:52
 
Jeff Highland

 

Posts: 401
Joined: Mar. 5 2010
From: Caves Beach Australia

RE: Left hand ulnar nerve (in reply to Filip

I'll just add, from my personal experience and research,
- Use a desk chair without armrests so you have not got your elbows(and ulnar nerve) being compressed
-Try to avoid sleeping positions with arms bent
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 9 2014 4:14:39
 
Filip

 

Posts: 115
Joined: Apr. 23 2006
From: Madrid

RE: Left hand ulnar nerve (in reply to Filip

Hi all,

Once again thanks a lot for all your comments and tips.
As I promised, I just wanted to get back and tell you how it all went. Well, after a while without playing and trying not to bend the arm too much, and after changing my working position and environment, I can say that I don't have the same problem anymore and that I can play again just as I did before.

Hopefully, I'll get back to you soon with a recording to prove it ;)

Cheers
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 20 2014 14:46:57
 
rombsix

Posts: 6344
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: Left hand ulnar nerve (in reply to Filip

I am having what appears to be cubital tunnel syndrome in my right upper extremity. It has been ongoing for years but has become quite exacerbated in the past several months to a year. When I play, I bend my right elbow of course, and now I cannot last more than 15 minutes before the numbness sets in.

I got a brace and will start using it tonight when I sleep. I am going to start doing stretches and exercises. Wish me luck, guys!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2017 0:23:36
 
Filip

 

Posts: 115
Joined: Apr. 23 2006
From: Madrid

RE: Left hand ulnar nerve (in reply to Filip

Sorry to hear that Ramzi!
I hope the brace and exercises will help!

Cheers
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2017 0:51:51
 
Leñador

Posts: 4777
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: Left hand ulnar nerve (in reply to Filip

Jeez, best of luck Ramz! You just had a hand surgery not too long ago, rough going man my thoughts are with you.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2017 1:36:11
 
rombsix

Posts: 6344
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: Left hand ulnar nerve (in reply to Leñador

quote:

You just had a hand surgery not too long ago, rough going man my thoughts are with you.


Yeah, if the exercises/brace/lifestyle modifications don't fix this, then I won't go down the surgical path again. Of course, the operation on my LEFT wrist helped with the ganglion, but the the cyst has since come back and I have pain in my left wrist again. It is NOT as bad as before the operation, so I consider the surgery to have been a partial success, but in general my function in the left wrist is still limited (cannot do push-ups, cannot play complex stuff that requires stretching / working out of the left wrist, etc.). I also had LASIK on my eyes in 2011, and now I have dry eyes (especially with sleep deprivation) and my refractive errors have come back. The xerophthalmia is NOT debilitating by any means, but I never had issues with dry eyes before that surgery. I can still see quite reasonably without glasses, so I think having 5 years now without eyeglasses is considered a very reasonable outcome of the surgery.

I think I've had it for the most part when it comes to surgical interventions at this stage unless they are for serious conditions. I think the left wrist ganglion and the refractive errors in retrospect were not "serious conditions", so I might have gotten away with just NOT getting the operations done, but I cannot reverse time. If I cannot fix the RIGHT cubital tunnel syndrome, then I am going to just take the plunge:

1- File my right hand nails all the way down
2- Grow my left hand nails
3- Flip the nut on my guitar
4- Flip the strings
5- Relearn flamenco as a southpaw

I'm not kidding.

Maybe I'll have faster picado doing it left-handed.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2017 2:08:24
 
Ricardo

Posts: 10325
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Left hand ulnar nerve (in reply to rombsix

quote:

xerophthalmia


Good grief man! I have tried pronouncing this out loud 10 times, I still can't get it. What is going on with your ailments bro???? Have a drink and jam some rumbas for cryin out loud!!!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2017 2:35:23
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2569
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Left hand ulnar nerve (in reply to rombsix

quote:

If I cannot fix the RIGHT cubital tunnel syndrome, then I am going to just take the plunge:

1- File my right hand nails all the way down
2- Grow my left hand nails
3- Flip the nut on my guitar
4- Flip the strings
5- Relearn flamenco as a southpaw


Ramzi, don't flip the nut and strings on your guitar. Just turn it upside down as it is already strung and play it as a southpaw with the strings upside down, just like Elizabeth Cotten played the guitar. The great blues and folk singer Elizabeth Cotten played the guitar left-handed with the strings upside down. It was, and still is, known as "Cotten Picking." Elizabeth Cotten wrote and recorded the well-known folk song "Freight Train."

Hope you don't have to do it, but if you do, your audience will watch in amazement as you perform a solea' left-handed with the guitar upside down. You will play tremolo with the melody on the bass strings while thumb-stroking the trebles. Accolades will pour in, you will be written up in music reviews, and just as Brigitte Bardot became Manitas de Plata's lover, you will have your pick of young femme fatales eager to be at your side (and in your bed) as you play your unique brand of flamenco. Not a bad trade-off if it has to be made.

Bill

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2017 3:17:25
 
rombsix

Posts: 6344
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: Left hand ulnar nerve (in reply to Ricardo

Just the medical term for "dry eyes", Ricardo.

I shall consider your suggestion, Bill. I think the Gipsy Kings already do that, however.



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Ramzi

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2017 3:55:14
 
Ricardo

Posts: 10325
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Left hand ulnar nerve (in reply to rombsix

Dry eyes? Ok this will fix your problem everytime



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2017 5:06:48
 
chester

Posts: 720
Joined: Oct. 29 2010
 

RE: Left hand ulnar nerve (in reply to rombsix

quote:

(especially with sleep deprivation)

The only reason you should not be getting enough sleep is you're out all night having the time of your life.

Otherwise -- get some sleep!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2017 7:23:40
 
Piwin

Posts: 1596
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Left hand ulnar nerve (in reply to rombsix

Sorry to hear that Ramzi.
If worse comes to worse, and you do have to switch hands, well, let's just say that we all know at least a few names of great musicians who were great and unique precisely thanks to/despite some sort of physical limitation that made them play the way they did.
Best of luck to you!

Now I'm going to look up zerofstfalmia. No wait, kserofthsthalmia, thhhsstthhssssthhhsss almia

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2017 15:13:54
 
rombsix

Posts: 6344
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: Left hand ulnar nerve (in reply to Piwin

quote:

Now I'm going to look up zerofstfalmia. No wait, kserofthsthalmia, thhhsstthhssssthhhsss almia




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Ramzi

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2017 16:38:07
 
Filip

 

Posts: 115
Joined: Apr. 23 2006
From: Madrid

RE: Left hand ulnar nerve (in reply to Filip

Candido Lopez, famous Argentinian painter, lost his right arm in a battle and after that learnt to paint with his left one. He painted some really awesome paintings afterwards.

Good luck Ramzi!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2017 16:48:12
 
rombsix

Posts: 6344
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: Left hand ulnar nerve (in reply to Filip

quote:

Candido Lopez, famous Argentinian painter, lost his right arm in a battle and after that learnt to paint with his left one. He painted some really awesome paintings afterwards. Good luck Ramzi!


Olé!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2017 19:58:29
 
rombsix

Posts: 6344
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: Left hand ulnar nerve (in reply to rombsix

Update about my RIGHT upper extremity cubital tunnel syndrome:

1- Started taking magnesium, fish oil, and vitamin B complex supplements daily
2- Started sleeping with an elbow brace on the right side
3- Massaging the flexor compartment GENTLY in the area between the medial epicondyle and the cubital fossa
4- Talking on the phone with a headset (instead of holding phone to my ear with hyperflexed right elbow join)
5- Brushing teeth with left hand
6- Trying to keep the right elbow in neutral position (not flexed, not hyper-extended) whenever I can while doing computer work, etc. (during idle times)
7- Took a bit of rest from playing guitar for a few days
8- Took ibuprofen 600 mg once daily for a couple of days in a row

Having done all of these has helped me moderately and now I can play again with no major issues. I hope that with continued modifications like the above, either I will keep getting better or prevent worsening of the situation.

Cheers!

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Ramzi

http://www.youtube.com/rombsix
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 24 2017 3:29:16
 
Dudnote

Posts: 1506
Joined: Nov. 13 2007
From: Living in Guadeloupe

RE: Left hand ulnar nerve (in reply to rombsix

quote:

ORIGINAL: rombsix

I am having what appears to be cubital tunnel syndrome in my right upper extremity. It has been ongoing for years but has become quite exacerbated in the past several months to a year. When I play, I bend my right elbow of course, and now I cannot last more than 15 minutes before the numbness sets in.

I got a brace and will start using it tonight when I sleep. I am going to start doing stretches and exercises. Wish me luck, guys!

Oh ****!! Just saw this. That sucks. We'd hate to loose you Ramzi. Have you tried yoga?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 24 2017 4:10:12
 
rombsix

Posts: 6344
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: Left hand ulnar nerve (in reply to Dudnote

quote:

Have you tried yoga?


Nope, perhaps I should...

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Ramzi

http://www.youtube.com/rombsix
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 24 2017 5:07:11
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2253
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Left hand ulnar nerve (in reply to rombsix

I am uncertain as to the exact medical details, but I will offer a personal story, meaning to shed a ray of hope for people with nerve injuries.

Somewhere around 2004 or 2005 I began to experience brief occasions of sharp pain in the spine of the neck. When it struck it was enough to bring tears to my eyes for several seconds. It was a little worrying because part of my job was to supervise a radar operating crew during missions, which cost millions of dollars to carry out. I stood behind the seated crew and looked at computerized displays. Episodes of being unable to see clearly could have been a serious problem, but in the event it never was.

At least once a week I flew the fifty miles from one end of Kwajalein Atoll to the other, and back again aboard a relatively cramped commuter plane. Turning my head in an unaccustomed way as I tried to settle into my seat, I felt and heard a brief "crunching" in my neck, accompanied by very sharp pain. I dreaded possible further effects. Instead, episodes of neck pain became less frequent, and eventually subsided altogether.

Accompanying the neck pain was numbness in left hand fingers 3 and 4 (pinky and ring, meñique y anular). That's the reason the "ulnar nerve" title of this thread attracted my attention. The numbness was bad enough to seriously interfere with guitar playing. I finally gave up for at least four or five years.

After I retired at the end of 2009 I had plenty of time on my hands to travel and do whatever I wanted. About 6 years ago I got out one of my guitars and started fooling around. Left hand pinky was so numb it wouldn't even go the the correct string, much less be of practical use in playing. But I decided to try playing and see where it would go.

Long story short, the left hand kept improving slowly, but fast enough for me to stay interested. After six years of work I'm back to playing well enough to really enjoy it. There's a great classical guitar scene here in Austin. I'm thinking of signing up for lessons with a local concert artist (a winner of the Guitar Foundation of America contest a few years ago), and to get used to playing for others again.

Talking it over with my brother the M.D. we theorized that a bone spur in my neck may have resulted from an old motorcycle injury. The crunch aboard the airplane may have broken off part of the spur that was causing nerve damage. I was surprised by the regenerative capacity of the peripheral nervous system. There might have been some brain re-wiring involved.

Bottom line: I have been surprised and very pleased to experience almost complete recovery from a disabling nerve injury, as a result of good luck in accidentally busting up the bone spur (we theorize), and persistence in re-training the affected fingers.

As usual for me, the biggest obstacle to overcome in learning to play again was impatience. Many times I had to tell myself to slow down and get it under control. Eventually it paid off.

So hang in there guys! Your body is capable of great feats of repairing itself.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 24 2017 6:59:00
 
rombsix

Posts: 6344
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: Left hand ulnar nerve (in reply to Richard Jernigan

Thanks, RNJ.

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Ramzi

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 25 2017 2:37:25
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