Severed Ulnar Nerve

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Taylor Mingle
New Member

Date Joined Jul 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 7/9/2012 10:53 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello all -

Long story short, I severed my Ulnar nerve at my elbow on April 22nd of this year. I had surgery on May 2nd to repair it. My pain has fluctuated since the day of the accident. When I initially severed it, my ring and pinky fingers immediately went numb and the constant tingling feeling in my fingers was enough to drive me crazy, however now I would give anything to just be concerned about that. Since the surgery, the tingling is still present, but it is now accompanied by a constant burning sensation in my fingers, which is at times, nauseating. It can almost make me feel sick, but more than anything, it is so uncomfortable. I have discussed all of this with my doctor and he says this is perfectly normal until that nerve regrows back down to my fingers, which could take up to a year. He has prescribed me Gabapentin and when that didn't work, we moved on to Lyrica. I've been taking that for over a month now and I notice no difference between the two drugs except the co-pay. I've heard and read so many rave reviews of Lyrica so quite frankly, I am shocked that I feel so little relief. My question is what should I be expecting out of these drugs exactly? Am I expecting too much? What else is there that I could be taking? What is the next step on this ladder to pain relief? I am not physically comfortable and I am going to lose my mind if I have to go on like this for 10 more months. I'm sure everyone says this, but I am not a baby. I have a high tolerance for pain, but this nerve thing has completely knocked the wind out of me. Any input, advice, etc is much appreciated. Thanks so much! :)

Post Edited (Taylor Mingle) : 7/9/2012 12:05:37 PM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 917
   Posted 7/9/2012 11:02 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Taylor,

Welcome and sorry to hear of your situation.

I've used both Gabapentin and Lyrica and, at least in my case, neither helped -- or if they did, it was only quite meager. I also found that they made me feel like I was drunk in an unpleasant way.

Others, though, have found them more effective.

I believe that tricyclic anti-depressants are used for nerve pain. Tramadol is another option -- a weak opioid that is also active in various other ways. High dose vitamin B also might help -- have a look at the ingredients for metanx. It is costly, but you can assemble the ingredients on your own more cheaply.

For nerve pain, I find that ice is helpful -- perhaps because the pain in my case is caused by inflammation/pinching of the nerve sheath. Maybe give it a try. That could at least provide some temporary relief.

I assume that a neurologist could order further tests, such as a nerve conduction study and perhaps you might need some minor surgery to remove scar tissue, release the nerve, etc..
C4-T4 Scoliosis (disk degeneration, stenosis, narrowed neuroforamen, bone spurs), RT hip and SI joint damage from car accident. Also, pectus excavatum, supraventricular tacycardia and mitral valve prolapse syndrome.
Current meds:20mg Oxycontin daily, Oxycodone 5-10mg for BT. .25-.5mg xanax as needed for sleep, Verapamil 240mg SR (for tachycardia).

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 88
   Posted 7/9/2012 11:10 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Taylor,
Welcome to the CP Forum.
Ouch on the ulnar nerve. I have low back problems and take Gabapentin to calm the damaged nerve endings and neuropathy in my feet. I wasn't getting a lot of benefit until my Dr. increased my dose to 600mg 3X day and that has helped some combined with the other meds I'm taking. I am considering getting the Dr. to increase the dose on my next visit to see if it helps more. Many others I know have higher and some lower doses that work for them. I honestly hate meds and taking anything stronger than an aspirin but know I will be on them for years to come because of nerve damage in my back. What dose Gabapentin did he give you? and how long were you on it? I was on Lyrica once and it didn't work as well as the Gabapentin for me. We are all different and the same meds do not always work the same for different people. So, it really is a one of those things you have to keep trying until you find a med that will work for you. There are some very knowledgeable people on this forum and I'm sure they will be jumping in to say hello before the day is out.

I have a Sis-in-law that had surgery on her Ulnar nerve and know from her experience it can be long, drawn out, and painful. Best of luck to you.

Become an active part of the group and you will find much info and support from the others here.

God Bless,
Dale :-)
You don't stop laughing when you grow old
You grow old when you stop laughing !!!

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 636
   Posted 7/9/2012 3:07 PM (GMT -7)   
Sorry I cant help with the med question, those meds knock me on my backside and I am a walking zombie. However, I did have ulnar nerve transposition surgery and damage, I can tell you it took me a year to feel sort of OK. Sounds that your injury was pretty severe. A year and a half out I still cant rest on my elbow for more than a few minutes. It takes a while for nerves to regnerate and/or repair themselves. I know giving it time is so completely frustrating but thats really all I can say. Hopefully they can figure out some other type of med to help, or maybe a nerve block of some sorts, I dont know maybe thats contraindicated in your case.

DX: CRPS, Fibro, CP, DDD, DJD, OSA, Syringomyelia, Arachnoiditis, failed fusion. Fusions C5-6, L5-S1, hardware removal and removal of scar tissue. SCS trial successful awaiting placement.
MEDS:To many to mention, changes every week it seems.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 15174
   Posted 7/9/2012 4:55 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Taylor and welcome to the forum. It really sounds like you are having a difficult time. Nerve pain is a completely different animal to deal with. To compound that problem is the usual pain medications have little affect on nerve pain. Darn Me gave some very good info about the nerve meds used widely. It may well be you were not on the proper dose, wouldn't that be something. Its something to consider.

I have ulnar nerve entrapment in both elbows from an old accident. I would not have surgery because back then it was not one of the best surgeries going with good results. As it has turned out now the nerve damage is permanent and nothing can be done.

In your situation hopefully as more time goes by for healing and such I hope they can find something that will help you.Take care....Susie
Moderator, Chronic Pain Forum & Psoriasis Forum

Taylor Mingle
New Member

Date Joined Jul 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 7/10/2012 6:18 AM (GMT -7)   
Wow - thank you all for your responses & input. At my last doctor's visit, he was able to tell that the nerve has successfully reattached by flicking the site of entry (my elbow) - an electric type impulse went shooting down my arm to my fingers (exactly like hitting your funny bone). After my surgery, he was pretty concerned about all the scar tissue that would develop around the nerve and that it may hamper reattachment and regrowth so this was pretty exciting news to me. However, the burning sensations and random waves of pain shooting down my arm have yet to cease and I am growing more and more frustrated. I have been taking Vitamin B tablets religiously and ice does create somewhat of a euphoria for me, even if it is only temporarily. I put a call in to my doctor yesterday and he now wants to try a Cortisone shot this afternoon. I am optimistic, but a tad skeptical due to my Lyrica experience. Keeping my fingers crossed that this will be the key that unlocks this BOLTED door. :)

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 88
   Posted 7/10/2012 5:14 PM (GMT -7)   
I hope the shot helps calm things for you.
You don't stop laughing when you grow old
You grow old when you stop laughing !!!

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 4/18/2013 2:39 PM (GMT -7)   
Taylor, I feel your pain even more so as my left hand has atrophied up and I can not spread or close fingers except thumb. I fell down on my first snow ski trip landing on my elbow. I was an avid weight lifter,
I went from bench pressing 450lbs to not being able to pick up a pencil.
My surgey was in Feb 2012. The pain and shakes are driving me crazy. Dr said it will take 3-4 years for me to recover, but in the mean time my life is falling apart.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 3557
   Posted 4/18/2013 2:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi there Royceno,

Welcome to HW...Just FYI but this particular thread is quite old as well as it looks like Taylor only posted once and hasn't returned.

We would love to get to know you more and this can be done by posting your own thread by using the button Post New Topic. This way, more people will read your post (you can cut/paste this one above) and maybe have some thoughts/suggestions for you.

We hope you stick around!
SB (Snowbunny) and the pup that snores (my yellow lab:))

3, two-level, cervical fusions over the past 11 years. The last one was anterior and posterior with lots of fun titanium!
Still have active herniations along with knee problems and another Morton's neuroma in left foot.
I try to find joy in each day even with chronic pain:)

Screaming Eagle
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 4/18/2013 2:48 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello Royceno!…and Welcome!

Taylor, has only posted twice back on July of last year, so I'm doubting that they will see and or respond to your post.

If you would like…you can start a new post and introduce yourself, so all our members can see welcome you on board.

Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Weekly Quote!

Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about, need only a bit of praise or encouragement - and we will make the goal. ~Jerome Fleishman

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2013
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 11/15/2013 4:58 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello all. I was recently reading about a basketball player who injured their Ulnar nerve and Found this Forum when looking for more information. I could relate because I have suffered from the same injury. I severed my ulnar nerve back in 2005 and have since had 12 surgeries to help alleviate problems from my elbow to the tips of my fingers. I still suffer quite a bit of pain and have no strength in my right arm or hand. In my case, the nerve never regenerated. I recently restarted Lyrica which works better for me than Gabapentin but neither has had the desired affect I hoped for in reducing the nerve pain.

I would like to hear from anyone that might have tried new surgeries or meds that have helped them.

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2013
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 11/27/2013 2:33 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey Everyone,

I severed my ulnar nerve 6 inches above my elbow in the center of my forearm about 6 years ago on a plate glass window. I had surgery to reattach the nerve immediately after. The "clawed hand" or curling of the pinky and ring finger has gone away, however I don't believe the nerve has reattached after all these years. I paid over 50k to have the surgery done. I am wondering if scar tissue could be in the way. The result is pretty bad, my hand is fairly skeletal, with no fatty muscle between my thumb and index finger, and missing muscles in my palm. I also cant make a flat normal hand, the pinky and ring finger are always spread apart no matter what. Are there any doctors out there who are familiar with this surgery and is there any possibility to fix? I am a 29 year old male in good health. If anyone knows a doctor who has done this successfully, please let me know. My doctor was so old, and barely spoke English although he was at the well known Swedish Covenant Hospital...I fear he didnt take proper care.

Elliott Osborne

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 4907
   Posted 11/27/2013 4:14 PM (GMT -7)   
Welcome new members. I hope you will all start your own new threads so we can reply to each of you.

At the insistence of my pain doc, I am re-trying Lyrica for my central cord syndrome (stabbing, burning pain everywhere below top of shoulders from pinched, damaged spinal cord at C3). I tried it before but gave up after a few weeks. He says some of his patients have to get up to 200mg before it starts to work.
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