Ulnar Neuropathy (Handlebar Palsy): Exercises

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Your Care Instructions

Here are some examples of typical rehabilitation exercises for your condition. Start each exercise slowly. Ease off the exercise if you start to have pain.

Your doctor or your physiotherapist or occupational therapist will tell you when you can start these exercises and which ones will work best for you.

How to do the exercises

Neck rotation

Picture of how to do neck rotation exercise
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slide 1 of 6, Neck rotation,
  1. Sit in a firm chair, or stand up straight.
  2. Keeping your chin level, turn your head to the right, and hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  3. Turn your head to the left, and hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat 2 to 4 times to each side.

Shoulder blade squeeze

Picture of how to do shoulder blade squeeze
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slide 2 of 6, Shoulder blade squeeze,
  1. While standing with your arms at your sides, squeeze your shoulder blades together. Do not raise your shoulders as you are squeezing.
  2. Hold for 6 seconds.
  3. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Neck stretches

Picture of how to do neck stretches
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slide 3 of 6, Neck stretches,
  1. Look straight ahead, and tip your right ear to your right shoulder. Do not let your left shoulder rise as you tip your head to the right.
  2. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  3. Tilt your head to the left. Do not let your right shoulder rise as you tip your head to the left.
  4. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat 2 to 4 times to each side.

Elbow flexion and extension

Picture of how to do elbow flexion and extension exercise
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slide 4 of 6, Elbow flexion and extension,

Note: If this exercise causes numbness, tingling, or pain in your hand, ease off of the stretch. You should not have symptoms as you stretch. If you cannot back off enough so that you can do the exercise without symptoms, stop doing the exercise right away.

  1. Stand with your arms relaxed at your sides.
  2. With your affected arm, gently bend your elbow up toward you as far as possible.
  3. Then straighten your arm as much as you can.
  4. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Wrist flexor stretch

Picture of how to do wrist flexor stretch
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slide 5 of 6, Wrist flexor stretch,

Note: If this exercise causes numbness, tingling, or pain in your hand, ease off of the stretch. You should not have symptoms as you stretch. If you cannot back off enough so that you can do the exercise without symptoms, stop doing the exercise right away.

  1. Extend your affected arm in front of you with your palm facing away from your body.
  2. Bend back your wrist on your affected arm, pointing your hand up toward the ceiling.
  3. With your other hand, gently bend your wrist farther until you feel a mild to moderate stretch in your forearm.
  4. Hold for at least 15 to 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat 2 to 4 times.
  6. Repeat steps 1 through 5, but this time extend your affected arm in front of you with your palm facing up. Then bend back your wrist, pointing your hand toward the floor.

Wrist flexion and extension

Picture of how to do wrist flexion and extension exercise
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slide 6 of 6, Wrist flexion and extension,

Note: If this exercise causes numbness, tingling, or pain in your hand, ease off of the stretch. You should not have symptoms as you stretch. If you cannot back off enough so that you can do the exercise without symptoms, stop doing the exercise right away.

  1. Place your forearm on a table, with your affected hand and wrist extended beyond the table, palm down.
  2. Slowly bend your wrist to move your hand upward and allow your hand to close into a fist. Hold for about 6 seconds.
  3. Then lower your hand and allow your fingers to relax. Hold this position for about 6 seconds. You should feel a gentle stretch.
  4. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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