There are four important nerves that supply to the elbow and the forearm and are derived from the brachial plexus located in the neck. Median nerve- branches at the elbow and continues along the anterior part of the forearm and Ulnar Nerve- enters the forearm through the medial epicondyle of the humerus.
Radial Nerve- enters the cubital fossa and branches out to enter the lateral part of the forearm and the Musculocutenous nerve, which becomes the lateral cutaneous nerve in the forearm. All these four nerves pass the elbow joint and supply to muscles, skin and other tissue in the forearm.
Causes Of Pinched Nerve In Elbow
Pinching of the nerve is characterized by compression of the nerve or a group of nerves, at the elbow joint, due to pressure exerted by the tendons, ligaments and surrounding bones. Some of the factors that can trigger undue pressure and cause pinching of the nerves include,
- Inappropriate posture like sleeping over the arm or keeping the elbow bent during sleeping or sitting in awkward position for prolonged duration of time.
- Strain on the elbow joint caused due to lifting heavy weights, trauma or injury can also cause pinched nerve.
- Repetitive movements of the elbow joint as observed among athletes like tennis players or golfers.
- Nutritional deficiencies of Calcium and vitamin B12 can make the nerves more sensitive and can cause pinching of the nerves.
Signs And Symptoms Of A Pinched Nerve In Elbow
The symptoms associated with pinching of nerve in the elbow depend upon the nerve that is involved. However some of the common symptoms associated with the condition include,
- Reduced sensation of touch in the affected area and feeling of numbness
- Pricking needle and prick sensation which is referred to as paresthesia associated with tingling sensation
- Twitching of muscles with mild to moderate muscle weakness
- Tenderness at the elbow joint
- In severe pinching of the nerve, a person may experience pain, however in most cases, pain is absent
Home Remedies For Pinched Nerve In Elbow
Here are some simple tips in order to fix a pinched nerve in the elbow,
- Rest is considered very vital to hasten the process of healing. Physical activities can cause additional damage to the pinched nerve and further aggravate the symptoms. Some doctors recommend wearing a splint to restrict the movement at the elbow joint.
- Cold compress can help alleviate the symptoms of pain and swelling. Avoid applying ice directly on to the skin; instead wrap it in a towel before applying it on the skin. Limit the cold compress to maximum of twenty minutes, thrice a day. Alternating cold compress with hot compress may also be beneficial.
- While rest is required during the initial part of the treatment regimen, complete inactivity can be harmful. Performing simple exercises at the elbow for about 5 minutes a couple of times a day is useful in reducing the pressure on the nerve.
Simple exercises can also help in reducing pinched nerve associated symptoms in the elbow joint. Hold the forearm at a right angle to the rest of your body, so that it is bent at the elbow joint and pointing forward. Now twist the elbow medially (towards the body) as much as possible. Then gradually twist the elbow laterally (away from the body) as much as possible. Repeat this exercise five times during one session.