ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Know Your Asthma Triggers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Ginkgo No Shield Against Alzheimer's
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Tips to Ease an Aching Back
A Little Drink May Be Good for Your Bones
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
CANCER
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Omega-3 May Safely Treat Precancerous Bowel Polyps
U.S. Reported 25,000 Cases of HPV-Related Cancers Annually
CAREGIVING
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Are Hospital Mobile Phones Dialing Up Superbugs?
Moms Who Breast-Feed Less Likely to Neglect Child
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
DIABETES
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Leafy Greens Top Risky Food List
Functional Foods Uncovered
Even in 'Last Supper,' Portion Sizes Have Grown
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Sunken, Unexploded Bombs Pose Cancer Risk
Main Ingredients in Household Dust Come From Outdoors
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
EYE CARE, VISION
Autistic Children Make Limited Eye Contact
Eye Care Checkups Tied to Insurance Status
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
FITNESS
Simple Exercise Precautions To Help Keep Baby Boomers Fit
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Meat Additives May Be Dangerous for Kidney Patients
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Lack of Vitamin D Linked to High Blood Pressure
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Lack of Vitamin D Linked to High Blood Pressure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Don't Leave Your Kids In The Car !
MEN'S HEALTH
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Keeping a Healthy Holiday Balance
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
SENIORS
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
High-Impact Activity May Be Good for Old Bones
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
Natural Therapies for Menopause
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'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age

TUESDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- First came Nintendo thumb. Then, Guitar Hero wrist. Now, for the latest affliction of the wired age, it's cell phone elbow.

Medically known as cubital tunnel syndrome, cell phone elbow is numbness, tingling and pain in the forearm and hand caused by compression of the ulnar nerve, which passes along the bony bump on the inside of the elbow.

One of the causes of pressure on the ulnar nerve? Too much gabbing, often brought on by those cell phone plans with unlimited minutes, experts say.

Prolonged flexing of the elbow, such as when you hold a cell phone to your ear while closing sales, talking to your mother or keeping tabs on your teens while you're at work, puts tension on the ulnar nerve. In susceptible people, holding the bent-elbow position for extended periods can lead to decreased blood flow, inflammation and compression of the nerve.

"Repetitive, sustained stretching of the nerve is like stepping on a garden hose," said Dr. Peter J. Evans, director of the Cleveland Clinic's Hand and Upper Extremity Center. "With the hose, you're blocking the flow of water. With the elbow, you're blocking the blood flow to the nerve, which causes it to misfire and short circuit."

The first symptoms patients often notice include numbness, tingling or aching in the forearm and hand, a pain similar to hitting your "funny bone." (The unpleasant sensation of hitting your "funny bone" is actually your ulnar nerve.)

As symptoms progress, they can include a loss of muscle strength, coordination and mobility that can make writing and typing difficult. In chronic, untreated cases, the ring finger and pinky can become clawed, Evans and colleagues note in a report in the May issue of the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine.

Though there are no solid figures on how many people have cell phone elbow, hand specialists say the incidence is increasing along with the 3.3 billion cell phone service contracts active worldwide, Evans said.

Still, the disorder is less common than carpal tunnel syndrome, a related condition that causes pain in the hand and wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of the median nerve that runs from the forearm into the hand.

"Cubital tunnel is the second most common compression syndrome we see," said Heather Turkopp, an occupational therapist and certified hand specialist at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich.

Most people who get cubital tunnel syndrome are middle-aged or older. Women get cubital tunnel syndrome more often than men -- and it's probably not because they talk more.

Although the precise reasons are unknown, women may be more susceptible due to hormonal fluctuations or their anatomy, Evans said.

And too much yakking isn't the only cause of cubital tunnel syndrome. Other causes may include sleeping with the elbows bent and tucked up into the chest, sitting at a desk with the elbows flexed at an angle greater than 90 degrees and driving with your elbow propped on the window for extended periods, he said.

In most cases, minor lifestyle changes can help alleviate symptoms, including using a hands-free headset for your cell phone. If sleep position is the problem, an elbow pad to keep the arm straighter at night can help.

More serious cases are referred to an occupational therapist, who may use ultrasound to loosen scar tissue that can form around the nerve as a result of the inflammation, as well as stretching, deep massage and "nerve-gliding" exercises to reduce pressure on the nerve, Turkopp said.

Doctors may also use anti-inflammatory injections or surgery.

Seeing your doctor soon if you're experiencing any numbness or tingling in your hand or forearm can prevent the problem from progressing to that point, Evans said.

SOURCES: Peter J. Evans, M.D., Ph.D., director, Hand and Upper Extremity Center, Cleveland Clinic; Heather Turkopp, OTR, CHS, occupational therapist, certified hand specialist, William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Mich.; May 2009, Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine Published on: June 02, 2009