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i have had surgery on my ulnar and radial nerves and theres another one believe me it is no picnic i also had tennis elboe and capal tunnel but this has been going on for 8 years now and i am currently disabled due to this and go to a pain managment center to control the pain so i wish you all the luck but my hands are drawn from it and you dont get nothing back you lose i had my surgery done in morgantown wv and i wish i never would have had them done now but everyone heals different but listen to your doctors orders i had a bad employer who wouldnt obey the doctors orders and that was a big problem
hi holly, and thanks for your reply. its been so long that i had forgotten about this site, but not about my injury. unfortunately, it bothers me every day, and i grieve the loss of the function of this left hand enormously. i am totally thanful that i am right handed, so the loss is less extreme. i am now typing with both hands, the ring finger can press down, but it feels wierd still. i have finally obtained a brace for the hand which keeps the fingers extended while i sleep. i have been told to continue to work at keeping the fingers in motion even though the chances are almost nonexistant that they will ever function normally again. the baby finger is totally useless, but the ring finger can do some small stuff, but it curls under and is almost impossible to straigten out even with huge force.

i would like very much to hear from your husband, or yourself about how he is coping. i do not have much pain, although it is always an irritationg burning buzzing feeling going on in my hand. i feel so much grief over it. it seems a lot of work to do just to keep them flexible even though they wont do it on their own and i will have to do this till i die. i stopped the morphine several months after the accident.

with compassion and hope, arlene
[QUOTE=arleneclaire;4175916]hi holly, and thanks for your reply. its been so long that i had forgotten about this site, but not about my injury. unfortunately, it bothers me every day, and i grieve the loss of the function of this left hand enormously. i am totally thanful that i am right handed, so the loss is less extreme. i am now typing with both hands, the ring finger can press down, but it feels wierd still. i have finally obtained a brace for the hand which keeps the fingers extended while i sleep. i have been told to continue to work at keeping the fingers in motion even though the chances are almost nonexistant that they will ever function normally again. the baby finger is totally useless, but the ring finger can do some small stuff, but it curls under and is almost impossible to straigten out even with huge force.

i would like very much to hear from your husband, or yourself about how he is coping. i do not have much pain, although it is always an irritationg burning buzzing feeling going on in my hand. i feel so much grief over it. it seems a lot of work to do just to keep them flexible even though they wont do it on their own and i will have to do this till i die. i stopped the morphine several months after the accident.

with compassion and hope, arlene[/QUOTE]
[QUOTE=arleneclaire;4175916]hi holly, and thanks for your reply. its been so long that i had forgotten about this site, but not about my injury. unfortunately, it bothers me every day, and i grieve the loss of the function of this left hand enormously. i am totally thanful that i am right handed, so the loss is less extreme. i am now typing with both hands, the ring finger can press down, but it feels wierd still. i have finally obtained a brace for the hand which keeps the fingers extended while i sleep. i have been told to continue to work at keeping the fingers in motion even though the chances are almost nonexistant that they will ever function normally again. the baby finger is totally useless, but the ring finger can do some small stuff, but it curls under and is almost impossible to straigten out even with huge force.

i would like very much to hear from your husband, or yourself about how he is coping. i do not have much pain, although it is always an irritationg burning buzzing feeling going on in my hand. i feel so much grief over it. it seems a lot of work to do just to keep them flexible even though they wont do it on their own and i will have to do this till i die. i stopped the morphine several months after the accident.

with compassion and hope, arlene[/QUOTE]

Hi Arlene,

You are in Canada aren't you? We are Canadians now working in South Florida. The pain that Rick has suffered and is suffering from his ulnar nerve is almost unbearable. He severed his left ulnar nerve, like you, but he is left handed. He is able to function quite well, through incredible determination.
I don't think that his hands stop him from doing anything that he sets his mind to. It is dealing with the pain that has been the most difficult. For the first 11 years, he only took a pain pill at night. He found that he would take the buzzing energy from his arm, and work non stop, always hyper active, turning the pain energy into productivity. He has decided lately, that he doesn't want to handle the intense energy anymore, so is taking pain pills when he feels the pain start (viocodine). I can't really say that the pain pills are doing as much as we would like them too, and there is always the fear of them not working as well over time. I hope that you are luckier, in that you severed the nerve, on your less active hand. Rick over the years has also gone to a acupuncturist/homeopathic/osteopath/MD who has stimulated the nerve with various treatments, which are really painful for Rick. Right now, Rick thinks that the nerve may be healing somewhat, as he associates extreme pain with healing. I hope that he is right.

Ricks' small finger is mostly atrophied, he has quite a bit of use of his ring finger. Keep up with any exercises that are recommended, as I am sure you know, the ulnar nerve supplies strength to the hand. Rick's nerve was severed 90%,(I left a knife blade up in the kitchen cutlery rack, which was above the paper towel roll, Rick reached for a paper towel and impaled his arm on the knife) he did not receive the proper medical treatment, for about a week, as the emergency room dr, did not know that the nerve was severed.
His nerve was reconnected after a week. This may be the reason for the intense pain. There is so little known about nerves, I guess the major hope would be stem cell research, which has been known to regrow nerves.

Unfortunately, Rick is going through a very bad bout of pain right now, hence the kind of down mood to this posting. He has over the past 12 years, been almost normal, and functioned very well. I am hoping that this stage will pass.

Grieving for your hand is a positive thing to do, Rick did the same. Keep upbeat Arlene, there are worse things in life that can happen. For every difficulty there is a corresponding outcome somewhere, be it in learning compassion and patience, wisdom and understanding. Every pain feeds our souls, it is the hardship in life, that makes deeper, and ultimately gives us a more satisfying soul life.

Please keep in touch and feel free to ask any questions.

Holly
Hi Ian, and thanks for your message. Somehow it encourages me just to know that i am not the only person suffering from this condition. For the longest time there was no feedback, so I suffered alone. I so feel for you Ian, that you are a musician. My son is a musician as well, and it was just yesterday that i was thinking about how absolutely horrid it would have been to have lost that ability. I dont know how a person could continue to play a guitar, unless it was the strumming hand. I 'spect i could strumm alright with it. But certainly not to press down on a string!! As for piano, I guess it would be a lot like typing. The ring finger does the work of the pinky, and the whole hand has to move around the keyboard to coompensate for the lack of lateral movement. One more thing i will say about being a musician..... The music is in your soul!! Like an artist who looses the use of their hands may start to paint with their mouth or even their feet!! You will find a way to make music if you try. The brain will rearrange your body functions to allow you to continue to make music!

They told me when i had the surgery to sew the severed nerve together at the elbow, where the injury occured, that it would grow back at the rate of a millimeter per day, which meant that in a year it should be reconnected. I waited for that year, yearning for some sign of recovery. All that happened was continual degeneration of the muscles in the whole hand. But I had back surgery 12 years ago. By the time they operated I had lost a lot of feeling in the affected foot, and I had to drag it along. They said that if it didnt come back within 2 years, it wouldnt. I learned to live with it, and the years passed, and nothing changed...... until maybe 5 or 6 years passed, and now i can say that the foot and leg are perfectly normal!!! YAY!!!

So....... maybe this too shall pass.

I have never gone to an osteopath or accupuncturist. I live in the bush in the lovely Rocky Mountain Trench in north-central BC. I have a very active lifestyle, growing all my own vegetables and fruit, and basically living off the land. I chop and carry my own firewood, although my sons cut and deliver it. I tell them that i want to do as much as possible, so they let me be as independent as I can be.

The day after my surgery, stunned with pain and heavy drugs, I went out to the garden for some food for my soul, and i got down on the ground and started weeding and thinning, and 2 hours passed before i staggered up to my bed of pain again. I never missed a day in the garden. Somehow, I was so at peace there. It was my only relief.

Three months after the surgery when i went for my post-op, the doctor told me that if i didnt start to work at desensitising my arm that i wouldnt be able to even pull cloth over it. That really smartened me up and I started really workiing the arm although it was horrendously painful and hideously uncomfortable. I heard of a friend of a friend who had this injury 6 years before, and he still wore a sling and couldnt stand anyone to even touch that arm.

So, I try to do whatever i need to do as normally as possible, and I think that has gone a long way to keep me going both spiritually and physically. I am going to the city next week to see another physiotherapist. When i booked the appointment I asked if she would take the time to talk to me instead of jus hooking me up to machines. I cant afford to go to the city more than a few times a year, and so need some kind of program that i can do at home. Also, I want to see what adjusments can be made to the splint apparatus I finally got. This holds my fingers out while I sleep, so that's a third of the day that i will have them straightened out as much as possible....

This is probably getting to be too much information, so I will close off now, and look forward to hearing back from you.

arlene
I severed my ulnar nerve about 3 months ago, just above my left elbow. How is everyone progressing on their recovery?

I would also like to share my experiences with the injury so far, so here's the story:

I injured my left arm in November 2011. I cut up my elbow pretty badly and completely severed my triceps and ulnar nerve; luckily no severe damage was done to other ligaments or tendons. The cut was about 3-4 inches long and went down to the bone. I was immediately taken to a hospital and the muscle and skin were stitched together as well as possible. A few hours later the head physician of our hospital's surgical branch, who is a specialist in neuro-surgery reopened the wound and sewed the severed nerve ends back together, using about 4 cm of my nervus sularis to make the connection. As a result I have lost feeling in the left half of my foot, but no movement abilities, since the nervus sularis is only a tactile nerve. Luckily I have private insurance, which made it possible to receive such quick and high quality treatment, on a sunday no less.

The wound is located about 60 cm away from the tip of my pinky, so, at the rate of about 1 mm of growth each day, full regrowth of the nerve should take more than 600 days. The surgeon informed me that, should it take more than 2 years for the muscles to reconnect to the brain, the chances of regaining control over them are slim at best. He also said that, right now, there is nothing one can do, but wait and see what happens. In 2 years I'll know more. At first, until about 1 month ago, there was slight pain in the palm of my hand, whenever pressure was applied, as well as frequent, short bouts of "phantom pain," i.e. sharp pain in the areas that have lost feeling, so they shouldn't be able to feel anything. So, that's gone now, my elbow is all healed up, although a pretty mean scar remains, the pain is gone and I can move my hand relatively well, compared to some people Ive read about.

I am a guitar player and used to play in a band, but since my accident, it has been impossible to even play the simplest chords. I have been quite depressed for the first month or two after my injury, until I decided to just pick up a new instrument that didn't need fingers. Are there any musicians out there who have had a similar problem? Did you ever regain the ability to play?

By now, most of the muscles in my left hand have atrophied to the point, where there is a notable difference in the size / volume of my hands. Since about half of the muscles haven't been used since the accident, my hand is a lot weaker and looks quite gaunt. Especially the area between thumb and index finger is so thin and soft, that it looks more like it's webbed than anything else. Guitar playing has become impossible; I can't spread my fingers anymore or close them together. they will only move up or down. I have no "ulnar claw," however, since I have been using a cast at night for two months now. So that's pretty good news, I guess.

I am still hoping to be able to pick up guitar playing again in two years, although most of what I have read here so far has been rather discouraging. I test the progress of my nerve's growth every now and then by slapping my arm with my index finger. when I hit a spot where an electric tingling shoots up my arm into my pinky, I know that's where the nerve ends are currently located and they've already progressed a good 2-3 cm toward their goal.

Are there any patients here, who have had their ulnar nerve severed and made a near full recovery? How long did it take after you regained feeling for you muscles to return to full strength? Is full flexibility and range of movement back? Did anyone have to go back into surgery long after the accident happened? Has anyone received treatment as quickly as I did, to raise the chances of a full recovery?

Thank you for any answers and for sharing your experiences.





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