Friday, August 24, 2012

Ulnar Nerve Pain in Right Wrist?

I did some digging on the web to try to find out more about what's going on with the lightning pains I've been having lately.  I decided to start with seeing if I could find out the name of the forearm nerve that seems to be firing a lot.  While researching and experiencing some pain, I made a point to try to notice where I instinctively grab my arm and try to rub the pain out.  It turns out, the pain occurs on the  inner forearm, near the wrist, on the pinky side of the arm.  I always assumed it was the middle, but it's off to the edge a bit.

From what I'm seeing, this is the ulnar nerve, which is frequently associated with a condition called "tennis elbow", since it runs up to the elbow.  There's a great picture of the ulnar nerve's location here.

Something that occurred to me while doing this specific research is that I have a strange propensity and compulsion to bend my right wrist into its full range of motion to "pop" the joint.  My right wrist makes about 3-4 pops per... I dunno, per cracking instance?... each time I do it.  The left one does not crack at all, even if I try.  I was aware that I habitually do this, but I never thought it might be related to the nerve pain.

Most of the joints on my body have a lot of frequent cracking properties, especially my neck and ankles, and though I don't crack my knuckles, they would if I tried.  Going down stairs is when my ankles go to town.  I'm a walking bowl of Rice Krispies when I go down to the kitchen in the mornings.  I cannot help it.  They just pop and crack every couple of steps, over and over again.  I do not know why this is, but it's been going on for many years now.

Having established a hypothesis about my cracking wrist being related to the nerve pain, I naturally wondered if I may be causing or contributing to my nerve problem.  They are in the same location, so it seems plausible.  Bending my wrist may cause the nerve to move or get trapped or something, I figure.  Anyway, I decided I should try to avoid snapping this joint to see if it lessens the frequency of the nerve zaps in my right forearm.  I feel I may be onto something.

Cracking my right wrist is one of those things that I do subconsciously but have always underestimated just how frequently I actually do it.  It may even be tic-like behavior.  Now that I'm trying to catch myself doing it, or better yet, before doing it, I've realized that I do it a lot more frequently than I thought.  I have caught myself about to do it about five times before noon today.  I don't think I've actually managed to crack it yet today, but if I did, that's even more instances that I did not manage to notice or prevent.

This is a highly speculative experiment on my part, but since there is probably no risk to trying to quit this habit, I think it's safe for me to find out if it helps.  If this seems helpful, I may go on a quest to try to avoid cracking the rest of my joints, if I can.  The yoga poses may be helpful in strengthening my joints, if that makes any difference.  I'll report my findings after giving this a good trial, perhaps a month from today.