Why Your Cell Phone is Hurting You – and other stuff

by DavalosMcCormack on June 5, 2009

For years we have been told that computers and technology would make our life easier. In some ways that may be true. But they are also making our lives more painful.

The latest example of this is a feature in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine about the rising incidence of “cell phone elbow”. That’s caused by having your elbow bent too long or too often because you are holding your cell phone up to your ear.

The symptoms are not much fun; they include ‘pins and needles”, tingling, aching, burning or numbness.

Experts say holding the cell phone up to your ear for long periods puts your ulnar nerve – the nerve that goes from the upper to the lower arm at the elbow – under stress. That cuts off blood supply to the nerve so it gets inflamed, squeezing the nerve even more. And so the cycle continues.

The good news is that it can be treated. Or you could prevent it yourself by talking less. Think about how many cell phone conversations begin “Hey, what are you doin’?” “Not much, how about you?” “not much”. So, do you think you would really miss out on much by cutting back on those!

Ignoring Snoring Could Kill You
If you have ever slept next to or near a snorer you know how irritating it can be. I mean, really irritating. That buzz saw like noise just goes on and on and keeps you awake for hours.

Well, if it’s any consolation, it’s not just keeping you awake, it’s also slowly killing the snorer! Studies show that snoring, due to sleep apnea, not only increases a person’s risk of strokes, learning impairment and premature death, it also increases their risk of impaired brain function.

This latest finding is published in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism – and what person has a childhood dream of creating a magazine like that?

Anyway, I’m getting distracted. Perhaps because of snoring-induced brain impairment. So, the researchers say sleep apnea deprives the brain of oxygen, causing problems in the way it works.

This is no small thing. Sleep apnea affects around one in four middle-aged men, causing extended pauses in breathing while asleep, and of course, snoring.  But it’s the extended pauses that cause the brain problems.

The solution is often easier than you think. Properly diagnosed it can be treated. It can even be cured by simply losing weight (most sleep apnea sufferers are overweight or obese). That’s great for sleeping and every other aspect of your health.

Got Back Pain? Then Get Back to the Gym!
It used to be that if you had a bad back you went to bed or rested for days or even weeks. But now we are told that the best thing is not to rest, but to be active.

Sounds counter-intuitive I know, but the latest study to support this says going to the gym four times a week gives people with back pain a better quality of life than going less frequently.

Researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada studied 240 people with chronic lower back pain.

They found that the folks who worked out with weights four days a week had 28 percent less pain, 36 percent less disability and experienced a 28 percent better quality of life – compared to those who worked out only two or three times a week.

Why is that? The researchers are not quite sure but it may be that building up all the core and other muscles surrounding the lower back takes some of the strain of it, and eases the pain. Or it could be something else.

Really, the only thing that matters is that it seems to work. So if you have back pain, what are you weighting for? Geddit, geddit? weighting for…

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