T Nation

Elbow Pain When I Wake Up

hey guys, when i wake up in the morning my right elbow aches for a few minutes and i have pins and needles in both my lower arms, but then the pain disappears. I don’t feel any pain during the day or when i’m lifting. i’ve noticed it has started since i’ve been doing chins and pull ups daily, maybe tendinitis?

Do you sleep with your arms folded under you?

Where on your elbow does it ache? Where the biceps attaches? Where the triceps attaches? One the medial or lateral side?

With the symptoms occurring in relation to the increased volume of elbow flexion due to daily pullups/chinups, I would assume it is a muscular/soft tissue restriction issue. Probably poor soft tissue quality of your elbow flexors and forearm musculature. Check out Eric Cressey’s series on elbows. Here is part 6 with links to part 1-5 in it: http://ericcressey.com/understanding-elbow-pain-part-6-elbow-pain-in-lifters

Also, to echo Captnoblivious, are you folding your arms under your body or head while you sleep?

yeah, sometimes i sleep with my arms under my pillow or above my head. The pain is on the inside of my arm where the ulna meets the humerus just above where your ‘‘funny bone’’ hurts.

Thanks guys

From your sleeping position, it sounds like you are putting extra stress on your ulnar nerve and/or decreasing blood supply to the area surrounding the ulnar nerve with your sleeping position. With the increased volume during pull ups/chin ups, you probably have some major restrictions in your flexor mass as well, causing some muscular impingement occurring around the ulnar nerve.

heck out the articles I listed above by Cressey and look into getting some soft tissue release work done (ART, Graston, Massage) combined with proper flexibility/mobility and strengthening of the wrist.

Oh man, I’ve had this situation, and I had to sleep with a brace on my arm to get my body to stop flexing my wrist and forearm flexors all night long. I would wake up with every flexor in my arm maximally flexed. It was related to excessive tension on those muscles during the day (ergonomics at work, disc compression, training, etc.), but it’s a bad situation to stress the joints during sleep instead of to repair the day’s damage.

My sleeping brain seemed determined to destroy my arm. I’d put on the brace, go to sleep, then wake up with no brace in sight. I’d find it under the bed, in the closet; crazy stuff! After about a week of trying, I managed to keep it on all night, and it really helped (along with all the rehab stuff I was doing while awake).

Thanks guys, i’ll see what i can do!

I agree, sounds like some ulnar nerve irritation. You may need to brace it at night like andersons.

beef

is there any reason not to see your doc about this?
this condition may sound familiar but causes can really vary and with nerve stuff getting a pro to check with you - be aware of this, do a history etc - can be a really good idea cuz it’s not normal, and while we can suggest half a dozen things it sounds like
a) that’s a bunch of stuff to hack around with
b) it could be wrong.

mc