Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics vol:27 issue:9 pages:560-568
OBJECTIVE: To discuss the diagnosis and treatment of a patient with cubital tunnel syndrome and to illustrate novel treatment modalities for the ulnar nerve and its surrounding structures and target tissues. The rationale for the addition of nerve-gliding techniques will be highlighted. CLINICAL FEATURES: Two months after onset, a 17-year-old female nursing student who had a traumatic onset of cubital tunnel syndrome still experienced pain around the elbow and paresthesia in the ulnar nerve distribution. Electrodiagnostic tests were negative. Segmental cervicothoracic motion dysfunctions were present which were regarded as contributing factors hindering natural recovery. INTERVENTION AND OUTCOMES: After 6 sessions consisting of nerve-gliding techniques and segmental joint manipulation and a home exercise program consisting of nerve gliding and light free-weight exercises, a substantial improvement was recorded on both the impairment and functional level (pain scales, clinical tests, and Northwick Park Questionnaire). Symptoms did not recur within a 10-month follow-up period, and pain and disability had completely resolved. CONCLUSIONS: Movement-based management may be beneficial in the conservative management of cubital tunnel syndrome. As this intervention is in contrast with the traditional recommendation of immobilization, comparing the effects of both interventions in a systematic way is an essential next step to determine the optimal treatment of patients with cubital tunnel syndrome.