Navigation Links
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age

Cubital tunnel syndrome results from prolonged flexing of the elbow, experts say

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.

More information

The University of Virginia has more on cubital tunnel syndrome.

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

Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. U-M researchers link pathway to breast cancer stem cells
2. Most common brain cancer may originate in neural stem cells
3. BD Biosciences Launches New Cell Analyzer for Complex Multicolor Experiments in Disease and Drug Development Research
4. Bayer and Onyx Initiate Phase 3 Trial of Nexavar in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
5. Study shows drug combination improves outcome for advanced non-small cell lung cancer
6. ALIMTA(R) (pemetrexed for injection) Receives Positive Opinion From CHMP as Maintenance Therapy for Nonsquamous Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
7. StemCyte, Inc. Reaches 1,000th Cord Blood Stem Cell Shipment for Transplant Milestone
8. Cancer cells need normal, nonmutated genes to survive
9. The vulnerable cancer cell
10. Cardium Presents Gene Activated Matrix Technology and Update on Excellarate Clinical Development Program at ASGT Annual Meeting
11. Immunologists identify biochemical signals that help immune cells remember how to fight infection
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... Patients at ... Michigan, have come together on Thanksgiving Day to share the things that they ... on the Serenity Point YouTube channel, patients displayed what they wrote on index ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... NE (PRWEB) , ... November 26, 2015 , ... Jobs ... searched by healthcare professionals and offered by healthcare staffing agency Aureus Medical Group ... during the month of October 2015 among those searching for healthcare jobs through the ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... Indosoft Inc., developer and distributor of the ... to improve system efficiency and reliability. , The new Q-Suite 6 platform is based ... system avoids locking itself into a specific piece of software for many key components ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Omaha, Neb. (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 ... ... nurse staffing companies, has been recognized once again for its stellar workplace culture ... Places to Work.” , Medical Solutions’ Cincinnati office was named a ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 25, 2015 , ... For the first time, Vitalalert is donating half of ... campaign. The partnership between the two groups began in 2014 with Vitalalert pledging a ... MAP International was founded in 1954 and is an international Christian-based health organization whose ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... -- Research and Markets ( ) has ... Horizons and Growth Strategies in the Italian Therapeutic ... Forecasts, Competitive Intelligence, Emerging Opportunities" report to ... --> This new 247-page report provides ... monitoring market, including emerging tests, technologies, instrumentation, sales ...
(Date:11/25/2015)...  Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ) today announced the ... the United States (U.S.) Food and ... to Humira ® (adalimumab). Amgen believes this submission ... FDA and represents Amgen,s first BLA submission using the ... M.D., executive vice president of Research and Development at ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015  ARKRAY USA ... continues to provide evidence demonstrating the accuracy of its ... Congress on Insulin Resistance, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease in ... both the Company,s GLUCOCARD ® 01 meter and ... accuracy requirements. The ability to accurately measure glucose levels ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: