How to treat ulnar nerve pain in neck & shoulder

Written by michele vrouvas
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Pain that starts in the ulnar nerve in the arm can travel to regions like the neck and shoulder. Ulnar nerve pain in the neck and shoulder is said to be "entrapped." This pain gives you the feeling that your muscles have fallen asleep, have weakened or are experiencing tingling sensations. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons suggests that you have a doctor diagnose your symptoms as ulnar nerve entrapment. The Academy suggests you then treat the ulnar nerve pain since failure to do so can cause irreparable muscle wasting.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Prevent muscle wasting by following the treatment suggestions of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Start by limiting activities that require you to bend your arm.

  2. 2

    Learn how to sit properly at a desk, especially if using a computer. Adjust the chair height so that your arms are parallel with the surface of the keyboard. Never allow your elbows to rest on any surface while typing.

  3. 3

    Avoid resting your arm on the window as you're driving. Try to keep your elbow straight while sleeping. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons suggests that you wrap a towel around your elbow which acts as a brace to maintain a straight position.

  4. 4

    Ask your doctor to prescribe medication to relieve the inflammation around the ulnar nerve. Take over the counter products with ibuprofen to control the swelling that produces pain.

  5. 5

    Try exercising to relieve the pain in the neck and shoulders. Learn how to do extension and flexion exercises with your arm which prevent the elbow from becoming stiff.

  6. 6

    Ask your doctor if he recommends surgery. There are surgical procedures which can relieve the pressure around the ulnar nerve, thus preventing the pain from moving into the neck and shoulders.

  7. 7

    Take advice from doctors at the Pain Clinic in England. They suggest using elbow pads which reduce stress to the ulnar nerve. They also suggest nerve block injections in the shoulder or spinal manipulation by a chiropractor to the lower neck.

  8. 8

    Buy a neck traction medical device. These devices work on the premise that constant neck traction minimises muscle spasms in the neck which puts less pressure on the nerve root, thus relieving neck pain. Chiropractor Dr. Josh Renkens of Nashville, Tennessee has said that neck traction devices are "a considerable benefit to my patients and...[gives] them relief from neck, shoulder...pain and numbness, even after they've stopped professional therapy."

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