Possible Ulnar Nerve Problems Ulnar Nerve Entrapment, Tennis Elbow & Rotator Cuff Impingement

NERD ALERT: If you’re not an anatomy dork, you may be perplexed about why I find this conversation so interesting. You may even glaze over and yawn. That’s OK, no offense taken. Use this post at night to put yourself to sleep.

For every one else who will find this information rather stimulating like a cup of joe in the morning, the other day I received an interesting question in response to my ulnar nerve entrapment treatment post. 

Overhauler TS asked,

Does UNE get mistaken for tennis elbow or even shoulder rotator cuff pain?  I’ve had pain in these two areas on the same arm for several months that have responded to therapies for those conditions, but has not totally resolved them.

I love this question because it gets you to start looking at possible connections between neurological impairment (ulnar nerve problems), soft tissue injury and mechanical dysfunction.

The effect of neurological impairments on soft tissue injuries is something I touched on very briefly in my book, Tennis Elbow Treatment, and have since seen discussed more deeply in a 2014 paper from the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

My current chiropractor, Dr. Dale of Abundant Life Chiropractic, as well as the chiropractor I saw when living in New York City, Dr. Brian Blatt, both use muscle testing to identify precisely where the neurological impairment is.

Improving the nerve signal can be done many different ways. I’ve personally experienced cold laser therapy, Network Spinal Analysis and Muscle Activation Techniques. I’m sure there are many other approaches I’ve never even heard of, but these are some places to start looking for yourself.

The best way to find a practitioner that uses manual muscle testing is to call them up and ask. Be prepared to shop around as you piece together your personal health care team.


Sensory and motor deficits exist on the non-injured side of patients with unilateral tendon pain and disability—implications for central nervous system involvement: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Heales, LJ, Lim, ECW, Hodges, PW, & Vicenzino, B. Br J Sports Med 2014;48:19 1400-1406 Published Online First: 21 October 2013 http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2013/10/21/bjsports-2013-092535



  • Hello Jaime,
    I have a 17 year old son who plays tennis competetively. For the past twelve months he has been suffering from pain in his inner right elbow, exterior part of his right wrist and the front part of his right shoulder. We have seen different doctors and physical therapists none of which has provided a solution. I am excited about your video explaination of Ulnar Nerve Entrapment and the solutions that you propose. I will keep you posted on his progress.
    Best regards,
    Agustín Orendain

  • Hi Jamie, thank you so much for all the great information on this site. I’m still having trouble determining whether I have tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, ulnar nerve entrapment, or radial nerve entrapment. When I try the “do this and see if it hurts” tests, they all hurt!! Is that common? Should I just do all the exercises you recommend, then? Is there any down side to doing them all? Thanks!

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