For many adults, it doesn’t seem like very long ago that pay phones and other land-lines were the norms. There was no reaching into the back pocket to grab a phone to check in with a parent or mate. There was no scrolling through social media sites and texting at all hours of the day and night. Interestingly enough, on the flip side of this coin, we’ve got entire generations who are now so reliant on smart devices that we begin to feel anxious if we go without them for too long.
Since this windfall we call smartphone use began several years ago, a number of advantages have been noted. Numerous disadvantages have also been discovered through scientific research. One of the downsides of cell phone use that may not be too surprising is the idea that hand and arm position present certain risks to the skeletomuscular system. In short, there is this little thing call cubital tunnel syndrome, and it has been linked to the cell phone use we have become so accustomed to.
What is cubital tunnel syndrome?
Cubital tunnel syndrome is a condition that some are referring to as “cellbow” due to the nature of development. Cubital tunnel syndrome occurs when the ulnar nerve, located at the bony bump of the elbow, suffers chronic compression. It is easy to compress the ulnar nerve; all you need to do is bend your elbow. The longer and more frequently the elbow is kept in a bent position; the greater compression will be. When compression affects the nerve, symptoms such as tingling and numbness may occur in the ring and pinky fingers.
Change Habits to Avoid Surgery
Severe cases of cubital tunnel syndrome may need to be treated with surgery to manually alleviate pressure on the affected nerve. However, if you know that your use of a smartphone or any other device could be behind uncomfortable symptoms stemming from nerve compression, it is within your power to halt the progression of those symptoms. For example, you could use your speaker to talk on the phone, so your arm isn’t bent. You might switch to a Bluetooth ear-piece to maintain confidentiality when using your phone in public places. Perhaps you could curtail texting and playing games on your smartphone. At the very least, you might take breaks from texting to shake your arms out or just let them hang for a few moments.