About 2 months ago, I developed a cold and sinus infection, which led
to a minor flareup of asthma and increased coughing.
At about that time, I noticed that often when I cough, I feel a kind
of tingling, sort of like an electric shock, in my right elbow, roughly
in the "funny bone" area. On a handful of occasions, I've also felt the
tingling when walking on a hard surface in poorly padded shoes - i.e.,
when I hit the pavement in an especially jarring manner.
- I broke the right elbow (fractured radial head) in 1992; no surgery was required, only splinting for a few days
- I have tendencies to carpal tunnel syndrome: had quite a bit of trouble with it during my pregnancies, and in the past couple months I have noted some numbness when awakening at night (thumb, index and middle fingers) if my wrist was not positioned well
- I am a computer user by trade, so no surprise on the carpal tunnel.
- I was evaluated by a neurologist last summer for a foot problem (possible neuroma or restless leg) and as part of the exam, he tested hand strength in both hands - no issues found.
Any ideas on what could cause the cough=shock sensation? I'll be visiting my doctor in the next month or so and will make a point of discussing this, but I'm curious as to what might be going on.
Thanks for your questions. Given your past history of elbow fracture, and
frequent keyboard user, the most likely possibility is a mild entrapment/
compression of your ulnar nerve at the elbow. Although the fracture occurred
at the radial bone, some degree of damage might have been inflicted on the
Ulnar nerve which is located in a very vulnerable/exposed location ("wrapped
around" the outside of the elbow). Furthermore, the fairly common "bent
elbow" position assumed by most keyboard typists can result in constant
tension of the muscles and tendon which surrounds the ulnar nerve, just
below the elbow joint. If there is indeed a certain degree of "baseline"
ulnar nerve compression occurring at your elbow "at rest", sudden jarring/
shaking movements might be enough to cause a minor degree of nerve irritation,
thus the tingling feeling. A much less likely possibility is a more serious
lesion in the cervical spinal cord, however it would be somewhat unusual
for the symptoms to be so similar to those of an ulnar nerve impairment.
I hope this information is helpful. Best of luck.
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