Cubital tunnel and pain management

When I think about the way that we live our lives, I think that one thing we are never really prepared for is health issues. No one really anticipates what their life will be like if they encounter chronic pain, fall ill with an ongoing illness, or fracture their hip, requiring surgery and recovery time. When I was young, my mom used to scold me for lying in certain positions on the couch with my neck awkwardly positioned, saying that I may not know it at that moment, but that position for my neck would cause major issues for me when I was older, and she didn’t want me to have issues with my neck later on. The issue is: you don’t know you will have pain … until you are in pain. You don’t know how susceptible you are to anything until you are unlucky enough to fall ill for whatever reason.

With cubital tunnel syndrome, previously, it was only known to affect people who were affected by direct trauma to the elbows. There’s really not enough data to understand why some people are more susceptible to it than others, even when they exhibit all the same behaviors every single day; it’s unclear if genetics play a role here.

My PT said that as long as I do not experience sharp, burning pain in my elbows, arms, or hands, at this point, it’s really about continuing to do nerve gliding/flossing exercises, icing 2-3x a day, and trying my best to not perform actions that will exacerbate potential pain or cause flare-ups. Now, it’s about pain and condition management. So in other words… what does this mean? Am I supposed to have these pains, random flare-ups, hand tightness, and dull elbow pains forever…?! I thought I came to PT to get cured?! I’m not really sure what my next step is supposed to be. I’ve been told that cubital tunnel could take weeks to months to go away. After speaking with people who have suffered from carpal tunnel, which is closely related, some took over a year to fully heal and feel “normal” again, with PT exercises, stretching, splinting, and thankfully no surgery.

This just feels pretty hopeless right now, and I feel sad and frustrated.

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