Has the news of a medical condition called “cell phone elbow” kept you from talking so much today? I didn’t think so. But maybe it should.
The condition, which your doctor may refer to as cubital tunnel syndrome, can develop when the elbow is flexed for prolonged periods of time. In this position, pressure is placed on the ulnar nerve, which runs along the inside of the elbow. Blood flow to the area is restricted and the ulnar nerve can become compressed and inflamed. Numbness, tingling, and aching in the forearm and hand follow.
The upcoming issue of the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine reports that, although they do not yet have estimates of how many people suffer from this syndrome, researchers do know that the number is rising during the current cell phone contract boom. Treatments range according to severity and include deep tissue massage, occupational therapy, anti-inflammation injections, and even surgery.
Women are more likely to have cell phone elbow than men, researchers said, and it’s likely due to our anatomy and hormonal changes. If you are middle-aged, you are more likely to develop it by holding your phone to your ear for long periods of time.
You can also develop cell phone elbow by bending and tucking arms while you are sleeping, driving with your elbow propped on a window, and sitting improperly at your desk.
You may be able to alleviate or prevent symptoms by simply:
* Sitting at your desk with your hands positioned at a 90-degree angle
* Using a hands-free headset while talking on the phone
* Using elbow pads to keep arms straighter while sleeping
Although I’m not in the highest risk age category (yet), I would say I have a good chance of developing this along with the inevitable carpal tunnel syndrome (which is still more common than cell phone elbow). Not only do I rely heavily on my cell phone, I am also in dire need of an ergonomics overhaul of my desk-laptop-office chair situation. First, though, I need to dig my headsets out of the bottom of my purse. In fact, I should probably do that today.. Before my fingers claw up and my forearm goes numb (this is no joke).
Are you as at risk as I am?
Have you experienced any of these symptoms? Do you talk on the phone enough that you are at risk for cell phone elbow?