Ultrasound-Guided Percutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation of the Radial Nerve for a Patient With Lateral Elbow Pain: A Case Report With a 2-Year Follow-up


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Abstract

SymbolBACKGROUND:Patients with lateral elbow pain are often diagnosed with lateral epicondylalgia. Lateral elbow pain is often associated with dysfunction of the wrist extensor muscles; however, in some cases, it can also mimic signs and symptoms of radial nerve dysfunction.SymbolCASE DESCRIPTION:In this case report, a 43-year-old man, who was originally referred with a diagnosis of lateral epicondylalgia as a result of playing table tennis and who previously responded favorably to manual therapy and exercise, presented to the clinic for treatment. An exacerbation while participating in a table tennis match resulted in a return of his lateral epicondylalgia symptoms, which did not respond favorably to the same interventions used in his prior course of therapy. Further examination revealed sensitization of the radial nerve, which was treated with 2 sessions of ultrasound-guided percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and 4 weeks of a low-load, concentric/eccentric exercise program for the wrist extensors.SymbolOUTCOMES:Following this intervention, the patient experienced clinically meaningful improvement in pain intensity (numeric pain-rating scale), function (Patient-Rated Tennis Elbow Evaluation), and related disability (Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand questionnaire). The patient progressively exhibited complete resolution of pain and function, which was maintained at 2 years.SymbolDISCUSSION:This case report demonstrates the outcomes of a patient with lateral elbow pain who did not respond to manual therapy and exercise. Once radial nerve trunk sensitivity was identified and the intervention, consisting of ultrasound-guided percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation targeting the radial nerve combined with a low-load exercise program, was applied, a full resolution of pain and function occurred rapidly. Future clinical trials should examine the effect of percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation in the management of nerve-related symptoms associated with musculoskeletal pain conditions.SymbolLEVEL OF EVIDENCE:Therapy, level 5.

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