Physical Therapy Expert Forum
Referred pain in elbow/hand
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Referred pain in elbow/hand

I had been working out for a few months doing weights twice a week and then had to stop due to twinges in my left elbow/tricep. I thought it was tendonitis but now I am quite sure it was irritation of the ulnar nerve. The pain was not during workouts but rather in the days afterwards when not doing physical activity.

While it wasn't too painful or bothersome I went to a physio to get some advice on when I could start training again. He said it was ulnar nerve compression at the elbow and did some work on my neck. He told me to come back and a couple of days later did some more work on my neck.

Now it is 3 days after the 2nd appointment and everything is much, much worse :-( I have had tingling in my right pinkie/ring finger, and both elbows feel sensitive. It is really depressing.

I called him up and told him and he said to come back in, but after turning a minor problem into a bad one I am apprehensive about any more physio treatment as it could just make the problem worse.

I have done some reading and it may be referred pain from my neck. That is the reason I am having tingling/numbness in my little finger and both elbows are sensitive (to touch or lean on the desk etc). Before the 'treatment' I never had any of these problems, I only had minor twinges in my left elbow!

Please give me some thoughts/help!!! Should I go back and hopefully he can un-do what he has done, or is there a chance he will just make it worse? This guy is supposed to be one of the best physio's in the state :-(
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It is possible that your PT has exacerbated some symptoms of radicular pain from your neck.  This can happen sometimes after the first treatment.  many times with ulnar nerve compression the nerve itself is shortened or tight and needs to be stretched like a muscle.  There are ways to treat this pathology conservatively with therapy.  I would be ok with you going back to your current therapist but you need to be very honest and clear that last treatment set you back instead of helping.  If the next few treatments you do not see improvement than it is perfectly ok to see a different therapist or consult with your primary physician on next steps.

Best in Health,

JAG
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