Cranky Nerve Syndrome - Part 3

March 2022

The patient we met in Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog post was a young woman with pain over the outside aspect of her elbow, which we determined was caused not by injury to the joint or tendon, but from irritation or sensitisation of the nerves in the area - a case of 'cranky nerve syndrome'. We had helped settle down her acute symptoms with the use of supportive taping and some introductory desensitising exercises.

We saw this young woman five more times before discharging her from physiotherapy - two weekly follow-up sessions, then three more at fortnightly intervals. Because of the complex causes of her pain, her treatment was also quite holistic, including:

  • Ongoing education about her pain problem - how pain works, what it means, and how to manage it
  • Gradually increasing upper limb exercises, using dumbbells and theraband, and performed almost every day at home
  • Strategies for modifying, pacing and managing the most aggravating daily tasks, including picking up and holding her kids
  • Introducing some regular (3 days a week) cardio exercise to her schedule - this helps to eliminate the stress hormones from her system, and releases calming endorphins instead
  • Discussing options for seeking support for her mental health, and to improve her sleep habits
  • Teaching her to tape her own arm as needed to manage flare-ups

On discharge, about two months after we first saw her, she still had low levels of ongoing pain in the elbow region. However, she was now understanding and managing her pain very well, and had excellent strategies in place to keep working on it independently.


'Cranky nerve syndrome' is a very common cause of pain amongst patients who attend Flex Physiotherapy. Each patient has a different combination of underlying causes, and the symptoms can vary enormously. Our physiotherapists have had to develop a high level of expertise in examining, diagnosing and treating this type of pain problem.

If you think you may have 'cranky nerve syndrome', call us on 9332 6422 for an appointment, or click on the button below to request a Telehealth video consultation.