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Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
June, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 06
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
Nerve compression problems are a frequent cause for pain and dysfunction in the upper extremity, particularly in the occupational environment. Although not as present in the popular literature as carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome is a common nerve compression pathology.In fact, it is the second most common peripheral compression neuropathy.1 It occurs when the ulnar nerve is compressed between the two heads of the flexor carpi ulnaris on the posterior elbow within a region called the cubital tunnel.
The cubital tunnel is located on the posterior elbow and is bordered by the two heads of the flexor carpi ulnaris (FCU) muscle. One head of the FCU muscle comes from the common flexor tendon attachments at the medial epicondyle of the humerus. The other comes off the medial aspect of the olecranon process. The two heads eventually join to form the belly of the FCU.
The nerve eventually passes between these two heads (Figure 1). Space within the cubital tunnel may decrease as much as 55 percent during elbow flexion, making nerve compression more likely.1 In addition, during flexion the ulnar nerve is increasingly pulled taut which may also aggravate symptoms. Subluxation (shifting position) of the ulnar nerve as the elbow moves into flexion could produce symptoms in this region as well.2
Cubital tunnel syndrome may occur as a result of direct compression of the elbow (either acute or chronic), excessive cubital valgus, bone spurs, synovial ganglions, fibrous bands within the muscle, or mechanical compression of the nerve during elbow flexion. The most frequent cause of cubital tunnel syndrome is hypertonicity of the FCU. The ulnar nerve may also be sensitive to compression if there are more proximal ulnar nerve compression pathologies such as thoracic outlet syndrome.3
Cubital tunnel syndrome usually produces a variety of sensory symptoms, including pain, burning, tingling or paresthesia. Motor symptoms such as weakness or atrophy may be seen as well. Weakness usually affects the intrinsic muscles of the hand more than other muscles in the forearm innervated by the ulnar nerve.
The client may report an acute compression injury to the posterior elbow that started the symptoms, such as striking the elbow on a hard object. This condition should not be confused with hitting one's funny bone. In this instance, the blow causes nerve compression between the medial epicondyle of the humerus and the olecranon process of the ulna just before it enters the cubital tunnel.
Cubital tunnel syndrome is more likely to occur as a chronic condition and is seen more often in men than women. The practitioner should identify actions that involved repetitive or static flexion of the elbow prior to the onset of symptoms. Prolonged compression of the elbow region, such as leaning on the elbows for long periods, should be identified. Symptoms are often aggravated at night if the client spends long periods with the elbow in a flexed position.
The client usually reports pain, aching, burning sensations or paresthesia in the ulnar nerve distribution of the hand (Figure 2). Weakness or atrophy are likely to affect the adductor pollicis muscle, which is an important muscle in grasping objects. Consequently, the client may report difficulty holding objects or having a degree of clumsiness when attempting to perform precise tasks. Atrophy of this muscle may be apparent with a decrease in the size of the muscle mass between the thumb and fingers compared to the unaffected side. Other instrinsic hand muscles innervated by the ulnar nerve are those of the hypothenar eminence (the fleshy bundle of muscles near the base of the hand on the ulnar side). Atrophy in these muscles may be evident with a decrease in size compared to the unaffected side.
Pressing directly over the cubital tunnel is likely to elicit the client's symptoms. Palpate the region when the elbow is in neutral, as well as full flexion. If the symptoms are exaggerated during flexion, this may be an indicator of cubital tunnel compression. There may also be anatomic obstructions in the cubital tunnel, such as bone spurs or synovial masses that are palpable. Tenderness or hypertonicity may be evident in the FCU muscle throughout the forearm.
Massage is helpful for cubital tunnel syndrome because a primary cause is muscular hypertonicity in the wrist flexor muscles. Techniques such as deep stripping to the flexor carpi ulnaris may help decrease compression on the ulnar nerve. Particular caution should be observed in applying pressure to the flexor carpi ulnaris near the region of ulnar nerve entrapment so as not to aggravate the pathology.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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