ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Know Your Asthma Triggers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
When Healing Becomes a Commodity
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Body Fat, Muscle Distribution Linked to RA Disability
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Sea Worm Inspires Novel Bone Glue
CANCER
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
More Cancer Tests Mean More False-Positive Results
CAREGIVING
Undoing the 'Big Baby' Trend
Recession Scrambling Health Spending in U.S.
Newborn Screenings Now Required Across U.S.
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
DIABETES
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Seasons Arriving 2 Days Earlier, Study Says
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
Smog Standards Need Tightening, Activists Say
EYE CARE, VISION
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
Decorative Halloween Eye Lenses May Pose Serious Risks
Glaucoma Associated With Reading Impairments in Elderly
FITNESS
Brisk Walk Can Help Leave Common Cold Behind
Simple Exercise Precautions To Help Keep Baby Boomers Fit
Vigorous Exercise Can Cut Breast Cancer Risk
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Spot light on Dani Antman New Lionheart teacher
New Options Offered for Sleep Apnea
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
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
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free
A Little Alcohol May Help the Heart: Studies
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Music May Temper Pain in Preemies
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Fussy Babys Could Be Out Of Your Control
MEN'S HEALTH
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
The Unmedicated Mind
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
SENIORS
Exercise Benefits Even the Oldest Old
Any Old Cane Won't Do
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
Green Tea May Help Treat Uterine Fibroids
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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