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5 Pain-Relieving Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Exercises You Must Do

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ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition
5 Pain-Relieving Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Exercises You Must Do January 31, 2019

Cubital tunnel syndrome occurs when the ulnar nerve gets compressed and irritated at the elbow. Pain and numbness in the ring finger, little finger, and forearm are typical symptoms of this second most common peripheral nerve compression syndrome (1). Conventional treatment methods like painkillers, splinting, and surgery work. But you can boost your recovery by adding exercise therapy. Here are the 5 best, most effective cubital tunnel syndrome exercises to reduce pain and increase mobility faster.

Before we begin with the exercises, here’s what you need to know about cubital tunnel syndrome. Take a look.

How Does Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Occur?

Cubital tunnel syndrome occurs when the ulnar nerve gets compressed or injured. The cubital tunnel is a small, 4 mm tunnel-like opening present in your elbow, between the muscles and bones. The ulnar nerve, which is responsible for movement and feeling in your hands, runs from your neck, shoulder, and arm, through the cubital tunnel to your ring finger and little finger.

Due to the narrow opening, injury, and repetitive movement of the arm, the ulnar nerve may get injured. This, in turn, causes pain, numbness, and limited range of motion in your arm and fingers.

In this case, your doctor might recommend taking NSAIDs, making your hand immobile by splinting, and regularly exercising your hand to improve flexibility and range of motion. Here are the exercises that work the best.

5 Cubital Tunnel Exercises To Relieve Pain

The exercises that you are going to do or learn about now are called Nerve Gliding Exercises. These exercises will help stretch the ulnar nerve and improve the mobility of your hand and fingers.

1. Elbow Bend

How To Do

  1. Sit straight on a chair and extend the affected arm out to your side, with the palm facing the ceiling.
  2. Form a loose fist, flex your elbow, and bring your forearm close to your upper arm, and your fist close to your shoulder.
  3. Hold this pose for 2 seconds and release.

Sets And Reps

3 sets of 5 reps

2. Elbow Flexion And Wrist Extension

How To Do

  1. Sit straight on a chair with your affected arm extended out to the side at shoulder level, palm facing up.
  2. Flex your elbow and bring your arm close to your body, with your palm facing up.
  3. Extend your wrist by pulling your hand toward your shoulder.
  4. Hold this pose for 2 seconds and release.
  5. Do it slowly. Do not overextend your wrist if it aches.

Sets And Reps

2 sets of 5 reps

3. Head Tilt

How to Do

  1. Sit straight on a chair with your affected arm extended out to the side at shoulder level. Make sure your palm is facing up.
  2. Tilt your head away from your hand and feel the stretch.
  3. Gently extend your wrist by pulling your hand down, toward the floor. Tilt your head away and feel the stretch.
  4. Hold this pose for 3 seconds and release.

Sets And Reps

3 sets of 5 reps

4. A-OK

How To Do

  1. Sit straight on a chair with your affected arm extended out to the side at shoulder level, palm facing up.
  2. Make an OK sign by touching your index fingertip to the thumb.
  3. Flex your elbow, flip your hand, extend your wrist, and form an ‘o’ around your eye with the index finger and the thumb. Rest the other three fingers on your cheek and jaw.
  4. Hold this for 3 seconds and release.

Sets And Reps

2 sets of 5 reps

5. Arm Flexion In Front Of The Body

How To Do

  1. Sit straight with your arms extended in front of you. Your palms must face up, toward the ceiling.
  2. Extend your wrists by pointing your fingers down.
  3. Flex your elbows and bring your wrists close to your shoulders.
  4. Hold this pose for 3 seconds and release.

Sets And Reps

2 sets of 5 reps

By doing these exercises, slowly and gently, the pain will reduce, and the range of motion will increase. Apart from exercises and medications, here are a few things that you can do at home for quick healing.

Tips For Healing Cubital Syndrome At Home

Tips For Healing Cubital Syndrome At Home Pinit

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  • Apply an ice pack five times a day. You can also make an ice wrap using ice cubes and a towel.
  • Wear an elbow pad.
  • Avoid wearing elbow support as it will compress the nerve further and cause irritation.
  • Rest your arm as much as possible.
  • Avoid driving for too long.
  • Avoid playing a sport that would require rapid hand movement.

Conclusion

Cubital tunnel syndrome is a rare nerve compression syndrome. So, do not jump to conclusions just by checking off the symptoms. See a doctor and confirm if you really have cubital tunnel syndrome. Take medicines, do the exercises, and give rest to your affected hand. You will regain strength, mobility, and flexibility in your hand in no time. Have questions? Please post them in the comments box, and we’d be happy to answer. Take care!

References

  1. Carpal and Cubital Tunnel and Other, Rarer Nerve Compression Syndromes” Deutsches Ärzteblatt international, US National Library of Medicine.