ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Birds Don't Miss a Beat
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
For All Their Plusses, Pets Pose a Risk for Falls, Too
Scientists ID New Genes Tied to Crohn's Disease
In Elderly Women, Hip Fractures Often Follow Arm Breaks
CANCER
Omega-3 May Safely Treat Precancerous Bowel Polyps
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
CAREGIVING
Health Tip: Benefitting From Adult Day Care
With Alzheimer's, Health-Care Costs Could Triple
Injected Medication Errors a Major Problem
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
DIABETES
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
DIET, NUTRITION
'Organic' May Not Mean Healthier
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Greenhouse Gases Hazardous to Your Health
Global Warming Linked to Heightened Kidney Stone Risk
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
EYE CARE, VISION
Action-Filled Video Games Boost Adult Vision
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
Eye Disease, Cognitive Decline Linked in Study
FITNESS
Living With Less TV, More Sweat Boosts Weight Loss
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
Super Bowl Loss Can 'Kill' Some Fans
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
Soy Protein Doesn't Lower Cholesterol
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Music May Temper Pain in Preemies
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
MEN'S HEALTH
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Heal Your LifeŽ Tips for Living Well
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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