Andres’s Success Story

I developed strange elbow pain during the summer of 2020. I attributed it to my calisthenics routine, which involved high repetitions of weighted and unweighted pushups and pullups. First, I tried to rest for a few weeks, but the pain persisted. This is when I started to obsessively google my symptoms. After some research I purchased a flex bar, which is effective against golfer’s elbow (my pain was on the outside of my elbow, and I had been doing lots of pullups, so this seemed like the best diagnosis). I did the flexbar exercises religiously but nothing changed. More googling and I discovered cubital tunnel syndrome otherwise known as ulnar nerve entrapment. This is similar to carpal tunnel but at the elbow and affecting the ring and pinky fingers rather than the thumb index and middle. At this point, I saw an orthopedic surgeon, who suggested I wait a little longer to see if it went away on its own. If not, he said he could do an ulnar nerve transposition to reroute the nerve. It was supposed to be an easy surgery. Still, this freaked me out and I thankfully decided to wait.

I stopped exercising for the rest of the summer and the pain went away. In the fall, I decided it was all behind me and started lifting. Things were going smooth, until one day I curled a heavy dumbbell and all the pain came back. This triggered a horrible downward spiral that lasted for about a year. I would google my symptoms over and over reading the same search results I had read the day or the hour before, click through pages and pages of any forum where cubital tunnel was being discussed, look up different treatment options. The pain level went up and down, but I always felt it.

In this time, I developed ulnar nerve subluxation. I could feel the nerve click over my elbow when I bent it, and this would send pain shooting down my arm. The pain moved around to different spots in my elbow. I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself. I isolated myself severely for months, probably the worst thing I did, and covid life only enabled this behavior. All the while, I constantly monitored how my elbow felt. I could not stop bending my arm to see if the nerve would still snap and to see if the pain got better or worse. I got my cubital tunnel diagnosis confirmed by and EKG and the doctor was prepared to operate.

Even with the EKG, I had my doubts about surgery. There was no good reason why the nerve was getting caught up or started snapping.

Desperate for a solution, I found Dr. Sarno’s books. Unfortunately, it wasn’t an instant fix but they worked and my condition improved. I read and re read the Mind body syndrome. I read Steve Ozanich’s’ The Great Pain Deception. I read the TMS wiki and listened to TMS podcasts. I started working out again and journaling. Today, I feel great 99% of the time. Sometimes, I will still have my doubts and feel a little something. This makes sense considering I spent about a full year of my life by myself conditioning myself to believe I was ruined.