Cubital tunnel syndrome is a peripheral nerve compression syndrome that involves pressure or stretching of the ulnar nerve (also known as the “funny bone” nerve). It is an injury or irritation of the ulnar nerve in the cubital tunnel at the elbow (a space of the dorsal medial elbow which allows passage of the ulnar nerve around the elbow). Homeopathic treatment of cubital tunnel syndrome promises a natural approach towards the treatment of the symptoms.
This is also termed ulnar nerve entrapment and is the second most common compression neuropathy in the upper extremity after carpal tunnel syndrome. It represents symptoms of considerable discomfort and disability and in extreme cases can lead to a loss of function of the hand. The main clinical manifestation of this type of compression is paresthesia (“pins and needles like sensation”) and sensory impairment.
Homeopathic Treatment of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Sometimes, surgery may be required to relieve the pressure on the ulnar nerve. This can involve releasing the nerve, moving the nerve to the front of the elbow, or even removing a part of the bone. Therapy is sometimes needed after surgery. Numbness and tingling may improve gradually. It may take many months of recovery after surgery. In some cases, the symptoms of cubital tunnel may not be eliminated even after surgery, particularly so if the symptoms were severe. Homeopathy is highly successful in treating nerve compression conditions including cubital tunnel syndrome. Homeopathy treatment for cubital tunnel syndrome uses medicines that treat the problem in an excellent way. These medicines are very safe to use and do not have any side effects. Aranea Diadema, Plumbum Metallicum, Kalmia Latifolia, Argentum Nitricum, Hypericum Perforatum, and Rhus Tox are the top remedies used to treat cubital tunnel syndrome.
1. Aranea Diadema – For Acute Burning Pain
Aranea Diadem is also known by the name ‘Web of Diadem Spider,’ and is a remedy made from the papal cross spider commonly found inhabiting the old walls and other closed places all over America as well as Europe.
This homeopathic remedy has its sphere of action around the disorders of the nervous system distinguished by neuralgia with unexpected soreness of affected parts. The key symptoms of this remedy include acute burning pain in the nerve. Numbness with a sensation of heaviness are the other symptoms of neuralgia.
2. Plumbum Metallicum – For Various Symptoms of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Plumbum Metallicum or the ‘common lead’ is a remedy extracted from the Lead Ore mineral. The sphere of action of this remedy revolves around the characteristic mind symptoms affecting the memory and the neurological conditions of the body. Plumbum is given for a variety of symptoms from muscle spasms and trembling to muscle weakness. Plumbum treats the symptoms of pain and numbness most likely caused by muscle weakness.
3. Kalmia Latifolia – For Pain and Numbness
Kalmia is a remedy prepared from the evergreen shrub of Mountain Laurel of the family Ericaceae. It is commonly found in North America and Cuba. The main action of the remedy revolves around various conditions causing neuralgia and inflammations. It is also a good remedy in the treatment of sciatica. The pain in the nerve can be sticking, darting, pressing or shooting in nature, attended by numbness of affected part. Pains are intense and can change places with redness and swelling which is worse from least movement. Other symptoms are a weakness of the fingers with pain along the course of the nerve.
Other Important Remedies
4. Argentum Nitricum
Argentum Nitricum is a useful medicine for the cubital tunnel syndrome when numbness is present specifically along the fingertips of the ring and little finger.
5. Hypericum Perforatum
Hypericum Perforatum is a remedy used to treat an injury/trauma to the elbow or the ulnar nerve leading to symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome. The symptoms include tingling, numbness and burning pain in the affected area.
6. Rhus Toxicodendron
Rhus Tox is a remedy useful in cases where there is a history of overstraining of the elbow from exercise or any other activity ultimately leading to main symptoms of the syndrome.
Symptoms of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Although the symptoms can sometimes mimic other conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis. But depending upon the duration and progression of the disorder, the primary symptom of cubital tunnel syndrome is an aching in the forearm. Numbness and tingling may also be present in the 4th and 5th digits and the ulnar side of the hand. The ulnar nerve may be enlarged, palpable and tender. On observation, there may be atrophy of the muscles of the hand, which is often observed in patients with an abnormal posture of the hands.
Patients suffering from cubital tunnel syndrome are 3-4 times more likely to develop atrophy than patients suffering from another well-known disorder – carpal tunnel syndrome.
Cubital tunnel syndrome causes pain, loss of sensation, tingling, and weakness. ‘Pins and needles’ like sensation is usually felt in the ring and small fingers. These symptoms are often felt when the elbow is bent for a long period of time.
Causes of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Cubital tunnel syndrome is mainly caused by traction and pressure but can also be caused by ischemia of the ulnar nerve. The main symptoms of pain & paraesthesia in the fourth and fifth finger and pain in the medial aspect of the elbow (proximally or distally) is caused by the compression of the ulnar nerve.
There are a few keynote causes of this ulnar nerve compression. These include:
1. Increased pressure – Direct pressure (like leaning the arm on an armrest) on the nerve can press the nerve, causing the arm and hand to (as we know it) ‘fall asleep.’
2. Overstretching – Keeping the elbow bent for a long time can stretch the nerve. This can most commonly happen during sleep.
3. Location – Sometimes, the ulnar nerve does not stay in its place and can snap back and forth over the bone with the movement of the elbow. Repeated snapping of the nerve can irritate the nerve.
This syndrome can be classified according to primary or secondary causes.
Primary symptoms include anatomical variations such as subluxation of the ulnar nerve (partial dislocation of the nerve).
Secondary symptoms are usually the result of an injury. It can although rarely be caused by intraneural masses like a lipoma or ganglion.
There are many risk factors that can make a person susceptible to cubital tunnel syndrome. Mechanical factors such as stretching, friction or compression of the ulnar nerve, direct trauma, repetitive elbow flexion/extension, repeated traction, subluxation of the ulnar nerve, metabolic disorders, congenital deformities, anatomical issues, arthritis, and occupational factors, head injuries that result in flexion contractures, age (more commonly affects people older than 40 years), overhead activities, and occupations involving prolonged periods of elbow flexion, such as holding a telephone.
Some people develop cubital tunnel syndrome because of a familial tendency. Diabetes mellitus, Rheumatoid arthritis, and Hypothyroidism also raise the risk of developing cubital tunnel syndrome.
The most commonly known pathogenetic mechanism is the intermittent traction when the ulnar nerve becomes fixed at a single or several points which limits the free gliding the nerve. Compression of the nerve at the cubital tunnel may occur due to reactive changes at the medial collateral ligament, some adhesions within the tunnel, hypertrophy of the surrounding muscles, or changes in the joint.
Managing the Condition
Inflammation anywhere along the ulnar nerve can cause the nerve to have limited mobility by getting stuck in one place. There are a variety of exercises that can help reduce the intensity of the symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome. Exercises like Elbow Flexion and Wrist Extension, Head tilt exercises and Arm flexion in front of the body help stretch the ulnar nerve and encourage its movement through the cubital tunnel. They can help decrease the ulnar nerve pressure and improve mobility. Apart from these exercises, rest should be taken from aggravating activities like leaning on the elbows, playing instruments like guitar, and other harsh manual work. Cold packs can also be applied to reduce pain.
Some precautions to help prevent the development of cubital tunnel syndrome are to avoid overstraining by limiting the amount of overexertion to the nerve, wrapping a cloth loosely around the elbow or wearing a splint at night to keep the elbow from bending can help prevent the symptoms from worsening, avoiding leaning on the “funny bone,” and watching your posture during the day to avoid long periods of time with the elbow bent. Patients with a desk job should make more space between the desk and the chest so that the elbows are in a straight posture.
1. Cubital tunnel syndrome is a problem of the ulnar nerve which passes through the inside of the elbow through the cubital tunnel.
2. Cubital tunnel syndrome may happen when a person frequently bends the elbows, leans on the elbows a lot, or has an injury to the area. Arthritis, bone spurs, and previous fractures or dislocations of the elbow can also cause it.
3. The most common symptom of cubital tunnel syndrome is numbness, tingling, and pain in the hand on the ring and little finger, especially when the elbow is bent.
4. Homeopathic treatment of cubital tunnel syndrome along with rest can help treat the symptoms of pain and inflammation.