ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Cranberries May Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
Acupuncture Cuts Dry Mouth in Cancer Patients
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Gene Therapy May Ease Rheumatoid Arthritis
Put Your Best Foot Forward Next Year
Cane Use May Cut Progression of Knee Osteoarthritis
CANCER
More Americans Urged to Get Cancer Screenings
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Multiple Screening Strategy Boosts Cervical Cancer Detection
CAREGIVING
Caregivers Face Multiple Strains Tending Older Parents
UV Lights, Fans May Curb TB Spread in Hospitals
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
DIABETES
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
Imagine Food Aromas That Prevent Overeating
Eating Lots Of Vegetables, Olive Oil May Extend Life
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Heavy Traffic Can Be Heartbreaking
Cleaning House May Be Risky for Women With Asthma
Agent Orange Exposure Tied to Prostate Cancer Return
EYE CARE, VISION
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
Eye Care Checkups Tied to Insurance Status
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
FITNESS
Super Bowl Loss Can 'Kill' Some Fans
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
More Single Women Are Having Babies
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
8 Drugs Doctors Would Never Take
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Frequent Feedings May Be Making Babies Fat
Music May Temper Pain in Preemies
Treat Kids to a Safe Halloween
MEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Countdown to Hair Loss
MENTAL HEALTH
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
Keeping a Healthy Holiday Balance
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
SENIORS
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
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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